I was extremely saddened last week to read about Stephen Hunt, a 38 year old fireman, who died whilst trying to tackle a fire at Paul’s Hair World in Manchester. I drove past the fire in Manchester on the Saturday afternoon and was shocked by the extent of the smoke and the number of firefighters involved. However, I had no idea at that point how life-threatening the blaze really was.
The news broke on Sunday morning that Mr Hunt had been overcome by the fire and became enveloped in a cloud of heat, thought to be caused by the number of chemicals held in the shop, which sold various hair products. Mr Hunt was a father of two and had served in the Royal Signals for 7 years before becoming a firefighter. His colleagues, his family and staff members at Paul’s Hair World have paid tribute to him.
An investigation is being carried out into the cause of the fire. It is thought at this stage that the cause may have been discarded cigarettes. Another firefighter was injured in the blaze, as were two workers at Paul’s Hair World who tried to tackle the fire with extinguishers and water when it initially broke out. For reasons as yet unknown, the fire escalated rapidly and it was still being damped down on Sunday, some 24 hours after it begun.
This incident reminds us of the risks that firefighters take on a daily basis to protect the general public. Even if cases where firefighters are extremely competent, with all the appropriate equipment in place, there can be tragic consequences as the very nature of their role is extremely dangerous.
This is the third fire in this area of Manchester within the last few months, after a derelict building burnt down in April and a fire broke out at the burger restaurant ‘Almost Famous’ in June. It is thought that the fire service will be issuing further guidance about fire safety to businesses in the area.
Danielle O’Neill, personal injury solicitor