The family of the firefighter killed battling an intense blaze on Oldham Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter on Saturday have paid tribute to ‘an old-fashioned gentleman.’
Father-of-two Stephen Hunt died as he got into difficulty tackling the fire at Paul’s Hair World at around 8.35pm.
Two staff members from the shop tried to stop the fire spreading before crews were called at 2.50pm.
When the blaze became too intense the shop workers ensured everyone was out of the building before they were taken to hospital for burns and smoke inhalation.
Stephen’s family said it is extremely hard to capture all of what he means to them.
“Stephen was an old fashioned gentleman with manners that are rare in this day and age,” they said.
“With core values which included loving his family, being the best father that he could be, loving and affectionate to those that were close to him.
“Stephen lived to serve his country having served for seven years in the Royal Signals and then becoming a firefighter, which was a career that he was very proud of.
“The whole family will miss spending time with Stephen none more so than his son, daughter and grandmother.
“We loved his sense of humour and are very proud of him and what he brought to our lives.”
TRAGIC: Stephen Hunt, killed in Oldham Street fire
Parts of Tib Street and Oldham Street are closed off and roads in the area remain closed this morning.
Stephen and another firefighter were pulled out of the building by their colleagues and taken to hospital.
The other firefighter remains in hospital, however his injuries are not life-threatening.
County Fire Officer Steve McGuirk said: “We have received tremendous support from the public and colleagues in emergency services across the country and we are extremely grateful for this.
“These thoughts and well wishes are greatly appreciated and will help us to get through the next few days which will be extremely difficult for everyone in the Service.
“We are devastated by the loss of one of our colleagues who has died in the line of duty.
“We never expect to lose a colleague in this way and it brings home the dangers that our firefighters put themselves in every day to keep the community safe.”
Two 15-year-old girls arrested on suspicion of manslaughter have been bailed until September.