Firefighter Stephen Hunt died 'after taking wrong turn', inquest hears

Stephen Hunt Image copyright GMFRS
Image caption Stephen Hunt was based at Manchester's Philips Park Fire Station

A firefighter who died tackling a blaze in Manchester took a wrong turning as he was trying to leave the burning building, an inquest has heard.

Stephen Hunt, a father of two, was among 60 firefighters called to the fire in the store-room of Paul's Hair World in Oldham Street on 13 July 2013.

At Manchester Civil Justice Centre, Coroner Nigel Meadows told the jury visibility had been virtually nil.

Mr Hunt, 38, got into difficulty and was taken to hospital where he died.

The inquest heard Mr Hunt, from Bury, who was based at Philips Park Fire Station, was believed to have taken a wrong turning with a colleague as they tried to leave the building.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The fire broke out at a hair products supply business in Manchester

They were rescued by other firefighters, but he could not be resuscitated.

Following the blaze, two 15-year-old girls were arrested, and one was charged with arson but the charges were later dropped.

The coroner described how the girls had been smoking in the doorway of the building.

One of them said they had both stubbed out their cigarettes but one had been knocked under the door.

The jury of six men and five women have been told the inquest, which is expected to last at least five weeks, will examine what caused the fire, the response of the fire service and the tactics deployed.

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