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No further action after shop blaze

Two teenage girls arrested over the death of a firefighter killed tackling a blaze at a city centre shop will face no further action, police have said.

Former soldier Stephen Hunt, 38, was part of a team responding to a fire at Paul's Hair World in Oldham Street, Manchester, when he and a colleague got into difficulties on Saturday.

Both were pulled from the building and taken to hospital but Mr Hunt was declared dead on arrival. The other firefighter was not critically injured.

Detectives questioned two 15-year-old girls who were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and later bailed to a date in September. Their bail has now been cancelled, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.

The force added: "Following an assessment of the initial information gathered and the accounts the two girls have provided, a decision has been made to take no further action against them at this stage."

Mr Hunt's family paid tribute to the father of two, saying: "It is extremely hard to capture all of what Stephen means to our family. Stephen was an old-fashioned gentleman with manners that are rare in this day and age.

"With core values which included loving his family, being the best father that he could be, loving and affectionate to those that were close to him, Stephen lived to serve his country, having served for seven years in the Royal Signals and then becoming a firefighter, which was a career that he was very proud of.

"The whole family will miss spending time with Stephen, none more so than his son, daughter and grandmother. We loved his sense of humour and are very proud of him and what he brought to our lives."

It is thought that Mr Hunt was enveloped by some kind of "super heat" which took the officers inside the building by surprise and which may have been fuelled by the chemicals stored at the business, a supplier of hair extensions and hair beauty products.

He had been a firefighter for five years and worked for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, based at Philips Park fire station.

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