Stephen Hunt: Fire services must avoid similar tragedy, report says

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

A report into a firefighter's death has said the use of breathing apparatus and communications must be reviewed to stop a "similar tragedy" happening again.

Stephen Hunt, 38, of Bury, died tacking a blaze at Paul's Hair World in Oldham Street, Manchester in July 2013.

The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) report, which will be shared with other fire services, said they must learn lessons from his death.

It added policy change must ensure that learning "becomes second nature".

An inquest in May concluded Mr Hunt, who entered the building equipped with breathing apparatus but with virtually no ability to see, was unlawfully killed.

'Fitting legacy'

After a review of the inquest's findings, Greater Manchester Police said "no further action" would be taken citing accidental ignition could not be ruled out.

The report, which follows both the inquest and police investigation, was compiled "to provide a summary" of what happened during the fire.

It made several recommendations, including a suggestion that more needed to be done to spot signs of physiological deterioration in officers using breathing apparatus and issues around the loss of communications during an operation must be addressed.

Mr Hunt's mother and stepfather Susan and Wilf Veevers said while they could not bring Stephen back, "we can try and ensure this never happens again".

"That will be a fitting legacy for our beloved son," they said.

David Acton, chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, said the report was "hugely important".

He added everyone at GMFRS "remains utterly devastated at his death".

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