This is the kind of blog/statement I hoped I would never have to
write - but, tragically, it is with great sadness that I have to
confirm the death of one of our colleagues, who has died while
tackling a large fire in Manchester City Centre.
Stephen Hunt, a firefighter at Philips Park, was part of the
team responding to a blaze in Paul's Hair World in Oldham Street.
This has been a particularly difficult incident due to the complex
layout of the building and the amount of materials inside.
Unfortunately, he got into difficulty inside the building at around
8.35pm on Saturday 13th July, along with another Firefighter, and
both were pulled out by their colleagues before being taken to
Sadly Stephen died, whilst his colleague remains in hospital
though thankfully his injuries are not life threatening.
We are devastated by the loss of one of our colleagues who has
died in the line of duty and, whilst we never expect to lose a
colleague in this way, it brings home the dangers that our
firefighters put themselves in every day to keep the community
It is a very sad day for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue
Service and all our thoughts are with Stephen's family and
Details of exactly what happened are unclear at this stage but
will be investigated thoroughly and independently. In that regards,
we have asked our neighbouring Fire and Rescue Services to
immediately start an investigation into the incident and
circumstances leading to this terrible tragedy and we are working
alongside Greater Manchester Police to establish the cause of the
fire. At this stage arson is not being ruled out - nor is it
being identified as the cause.
The fire in Oldham Street is still being dealt with and
firefighters are expected to be there through the night and into
Sunday. They are clearly devastated by the loss of their colleague
and I pay tribute to their professionalism, courage and dedication
- while in mourning they are continuing to keep the community safe.
During this horrendous situation unfolding we also dealt with a
number of other serious property fires where members of the public
I would also like to thank the Ambulance Service's HART team who
battled to save our colleague.
Throughout yesterday we received tremendous support from the
community for our efforts in tackling the blaze. We are sure that
members of the public will want to express their sympathies and we
would ask people to do this through our Facebook page