A 'hero' dog who became the most decorated fire service dog in the country has died.

Echo, a yellow Labrador from Kearsley, carried out more than 70 missions both across the UK and the world during a near decade-long career with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

Along with his duties on the front line, Echo was a much-loved pet, living with his owner and handler Crew Manager Mike Dewar and their family in Kearsley. He died on Wednesday at the age of 16. 

In his "greatest hour", Echo was deployed to help search for survivors of the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti in 2010.

The fearless dog searched for days in the destroyed capital of Port-au-Prince, locating several bodies.

Mr Dewar, 50, said: “Echo worked tirelessly for 10 days searching collapsed buildings and bringing hope to devastated communities. As a result of his fantastic effort he eventually succumbed to heat exhaustion.

"The memories of this deployment never really left Echo and the horror he witnessed left him with nightmares for the remainder of his life."

From 2004 to 2013, Echo won PDSA Order of Merit — the animal equivalent of an OBE, a Pride of Britain award, IFAW's animal of the year, hero dog of the year, and a UN letter of outstanding performance.

After his retirement, Echo still met children at events and promoted fire safety. Echo died peacefully on Wednesday surrounded by his family.

Mr Dewar, who had been with Echo since he was a puppy in 2004, added: “Echo paved the way for many of the fire service dogs now serving in the UK, a legacy he would be proud of. He will be greatly missed.”

GMFRS Assistant County Fire Officer Tony Hunter sent condolences from the whole service, saying: “Echo was our very own super-dog. We are going to miss him greatly and want to express our thanks for all of his and Mike’s hard work over the years.”