Firefighter killed in factory blaze

A firefighter was today killed in the line of duty while tackling a severe blaze at a disused hosiery factory.

A firefighter was today killed in the line of duty while tackling a severe blaze at a disused hosiery factory.

Bob Miller, 44, was one of about 90 personnel sent to premises in Morledge Street, Leicester, after passing police officers noticed a fire at about 2.45am.

The death of the father of two teenage sons - the first at Leicestershire fire and rescue service in more than 25 years - comes as the Fire Brigades Union tries to negotiate a 40% pay deal for its members and prevent the first national firefighters' strike since 1977.

David Webb, chief fire officer at Leicestershire fire and rescue service, said he and his colleagues were devastated by what had happened.

"It is the most tragic thing that can happen in the fire service. Thankfully, it is very rare."

He added: "The cause of the fire and events surrounding the death will be subject to a full investigation by the brigade, and the health and safety executive have been informed."

Crews from the city and across Leicestershire were sent to the factory, which is one of several old buildings on the edge of Leicester's inner ring road.

The top two floors of the three-storey building were said to be well alight by the time they arrived.

Morledge Street and several surrounding streets were closed off and were likely to remain shut for the rest of the day as crews dampened down and an investigation took place, Leicestershire police said. There was no indication of how the fire started.

Paul Botterill, of Leicestershire fire and rescue service, said colleagues were shocked and numbed at the death.

"We are just trying to come to terms with it," he said. "The family has been informed. Certainly, all colleagues and friends are very upset by what's happened and we will give all the support we can. "

Staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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