Manchester

Firefighter Stephen Hunt inquest: Jury visits scene of fatal fire

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

An inquest jury has visited the shop where a firefighter died while trying to put out a severe blaze.

Stephen Hunt, 38, died in July 2013 after taking a wrong turning inside the smoke-filled rooms of Paul's Hair World in Oldham Street, Manchester.

He was among 60 firefighters called to the fire in the Northern Quarter area.

The jury spent 30 minutes at the shop and examined the rear doors where the inquest has heard two 15-year-old girls had been smoking.

On Monday, the coroner Nigel Meadows described how the girls had been smoking in the doorway on the day of the fatal fire.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Firefighters at the scene of a fire at Paul"s Hair World in Oldham Street, Manchester
Image copyright PA
Image caption The fire broke out at a hair products supply business in Manchester

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

Alongside legal representatives and the coroner, the jurors were taken through the main entrance and shown through to the rear of the building, where they were shown the doors.

It is believed Mr Hunt and a colleague, both wearing breathing apparatus, got into difficulties inside the building - when visibility was virtually nil - and had to be rescued.

Mr Hunt, from Bury, was taken to hospital where he died.

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

The business has since been refurbished and reopened and a plaque dedicated to the father-of-two placed on the exterior wall.

The inquest, which is expected to last five weeks, continues.

Image caption A plaque dedicated to Stephen Hunt can be seen on the exterior wall of the business where the fire started
Image caption The business has since been refurbished and reopened

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