Former Manchester firefighter hero and wife killed in the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks

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A former firefighter celebrated for his heroism during the IRA bombing in Manchester was one of the victims of the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks.

Billy Harrop, 56, and his wife Sally both died during the Easter Sunday attacks.

Their son Gavin, who was also in Sri Lanka at the time, survived the explosions that hit churches and hotels.

More than 290 people died and at least 500 were injured. Eight Britons are among the dead, confirmed officials.

Mr Harrop was a well known and highly respected former firefighter who worked in various roles throughout Greater Manchester.

It is thought that he recently retired and emigrated to Australia with his family, and was on vacation in Sri Lanka.

He was officially praised for his heroism during the IRA bombing in 1996.

As director of the Philips Park pumping station, Mr. Harrop and his colleagues were one of the first crews on the scene after the IRA detonated the one that was the biggest bomb that ever exploded on the continent British.

While no one was killed, Mr. Harrop and his colleagues paid attention to hundreds of wounded and searched for a second suspicious device.

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Educated at the Sale Grammar School, his fire fighting career began at the Salford fire station and he held higher roles.

Mr Harrop served as district commander for the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and held management positions at Sale, Stockport and Manchester.

The tributes have invaded Mr. Harrop by his former colleagues and fire officers.

Gary Keary, secretary of the brigade union, said: "The FBU is shocked and saddened by the loss of the former firefighter Billy Harrop and his wife in the tragic events in Sri Lanka.

"FBU sends its deepest condolences to its family and friends".

Kev Brown, former secretary of the Union of Firefighters, said: "Billy was a former student of the Sale Grammar School, he was well known in the brigade and was a true character.

"He led the Philips Park team in response to the IRA bomb in Manchester in 1996 and received a commendation for his actions in the accident."

The death toll came after a series of eight explosions coordinated on Easter Sunday in three churches, three hotels, a pension and near an overpass.

The attacks were carried out by seven suicide bombers.

Officials said 13 suspects were arrested. No one took responsibility for the massacre.

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