Manchester

Manchester fire death: Investigation 'could take over a year'

Police and fire officers lay tributes to Stephen Hunt
Image caption Members of the emergency services and the public have laid tributes to Stephen Hunt

The investigation into the cause of a fire in which a Manchester firefighter died could take "over a year" to complete, police have said.

Stephen Hunt, a 38-year-old father-of-two, died while tackling the fire at Paul's Hair World in Oldham Street on Saturday afternoon.

Ch Supt Russ Jackson said the inquiry was "likely to be protracted".

He added that it was still not clear "if anybody actually caused the fire, deliberately or accidentally".

On Wednesday, police announced that two girls arrested over the fire will face no further action.

Mr Jackson said there were "many inquiries that need to take place before any determination of culpability, if any can be made".

"It's an incredibly difficult investigation that's likely to take some many weeks, months and possibly over a year."

He added that the investigation would include the "coroner, Health and Safety Executive and the fire service to ensure that the circumstances of Stephen's tragic death are properly understood.

"Indeed, in this inquiry the cause of the fire is one aspect, others are the fire safety of the building and the actions of the fire service because, as you would expect when a member of the emergency services loses their life, an examination of the service concerned is absolutely proper."

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