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Girl denies starting fatal blaze

A 16-year-old girl has denied starting a fire which claimed the life of a firefighter.

Father-of-two Stephen Hunt, 38, died after he tackled a blaze at a shop in Manchester city centre on July 13, 2013.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at Manchester Crown Court today and entered a not guilty plea to committing arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Her father sat behind her in the dock throughout the brief hearing.

Sixty firefighters tackled the fire at Paul's Hair World in Oldham Street as Mr Hunt got into difficulties inside the building.

The ex-soldier and firefighter for five years was taken to hospital but did not recover from his injuries.

His mother, Sue, and stepfather, Wilf, were present at today's plea and case management hearing.

Judge Robert Atherton set a trial date of April 13.

The teenager was granted unconditional bail until the trial which is scheduled to last five days.

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