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Luton Airport’s car park graveyard: Shocking images reveal extent of devastation 10 days after 1,500 vehicles went up in flames as bosses admit it’s ‘unlikely any will be salvageable’


Shocking pictures have revealed the extent of the damage to vehicles which were parked in the Luton Airport car park when it went up in flames last Tuesday. 

Last week, the airport said it is ‘unlikely that any vehicles will be salvageable’ following a massive fire which caused a car park to collapse.

Harrowing images show burnt out cars flipped on their side and crushed under the airport car park’s concrete structure. 

One snapshot showed a 2021 Volkswagen SUV leaning on its right-hand side after being caught in the force of the fire. 

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service received a report about the blaze on level three of the airport’s Terminal Car Park last week.

Shocking images have revealed the extent of the damage to vehicles which were parked in the Luton Airport car park when it went up in flames

Shocking images have revealed the extent of the damage to vehicles which were parked in the Luton Airport car park when it went up in flames

Andrew Hopkinson, chief fire officer for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said up to 1,500 vehicles were inside the car park at the time of the fire

Andrew Hopkinson, chief fire officer for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said up to 1,500 vehicles were inside the car park at the time of the fire

Last week, the airport said it is 'unlikely that any vehicles will be salvageable' following a massive fire which caused a car park to collapse

Last week, the airport said it is ‘unlikely that any vehicles will be salvageable’ following a massive fire which caused a car park to collapse

One car looks almost unrecognisable as it is pictured with smashed windows

One car looks almost unrecognisable as it is pictured with smashed windows 

Shocking pictures show smashed up cars in the car park which set alight last week

Shocking pictures show smashed up cars in the car park which set alight last week

Andrew Hopkinson, chief fire officer for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said up to 1,500 vehicles were inside the car park at the time of the fire.

In a statement, the airport said it is ‘unlikely that any vehicles in the car park will be salvageable’ but this was ‘still in the process of being assessed’.

One hundred firefighters spent 12 hours battling the inferno at the airport’s Terminal Car Park Two when the £20million block was engulfed by flames and caved in just before 9pm last week.

The airport said it had provided the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) with the registration details of 1,405 vehicles and, along with its parking provider APCOA, it had responded to almost 16,500 customer queries since the fire.

The car park remains closed after the blaze caused it to partially collapse, and it was revealed on Saturday that no-one can access the structure safely, making it impossible to properly assess the damage done.

It has been extensively damaged by the fire, with debris of cars piled up within the blackened structure.

The airport’s Dart rail transit system, which opened earlier this year, remains closed.

Investigators believe the blaze was started when a diesel car, thought to be a Range Rover, suffered an electrical fault or leaking fuel line.

In a statement, London Luton Airport apologised to customers with vehicles in the car park, which is a five-minute walk from the airport’s terminal.

It said: ‘We understand the distress this incident has caused for our car parking customers, and that many are still anxious for more detail.

‘We’re sorry that we have not been able to respond as quickly as we would have liked.’ 

An airport spokesperson said it recognised it has been an ‘extremely distressing’ time for those affected and was working with the Association of British Insurers to establish the possibility of safely retrieving any personal items from the vehicles.

The airport said the emergency services have handed back control of the site and it is working to make it safe.

It is likely that Terminal Car Park 2, which was built in 2019 at a cost of £20million, will now have to be demolished.

Experts believe that if it had been fitted with an effective sprinkler system, the fire could have been stopped from spreading, leading only to localised damage.

A government source confirmed to MailOnline that they are ‘undertaking a major review of the fire safety guidance to the building regulations, including research on the fire resistance of car parks’.

One hundred firefighters spent 12 hours battling the inferno at the airport's Terminal Car Park Two

One hundred firefighters spent 12 hours battling the inferno at the airport’s Terminal Car Park Two 

The £20million block was engulfed by flames and caved in just before 9pm last Tuesday

The £20million block was engulfed by flames and caved in just before 9pm last Tuesday

A 2021 Volkswagen SUV is pictured on its side at Luton Airport car park

A 2021 Volkswagen SUV is pictured on its side at Luton Airport car park 

The structural damage to the car park can be seen in this image, along with a burnt out car

The structural damage to the car park can be seen in this image, along with a burnt out car 

A Telsa is snapped next to a car which has been flipped upside down at Luton Airport

A Telsa is snapped next to a car which has been flipped upside down at Luton Airport 

A construction worker is pictured looking at the damage at Luton Airport

A construction worker is pictured looking at the damage at Luton Airport 

Liz and Gary Blackmore, of Loughborough, were coming back from a five-day holiday to Portugal last night and had parked their Mercedes-AMG CLA Shooting Brake on the top floor of Luton’s new £20million parking structure. 

The couple were on a flight back to Luton when they heard about the blaze from the captain, who had to make a last minute diversion to Gatwick

Mrs Blackmore, 57, told MailOnline: ‘We’re devastated. The car was less than a year old and my daughter has taken the other car so now we’re left with no car. We’re horrified.’ 

Mrs Blackmore continued: ‘We parked our Mercedes on the top floor of the multi-story Car Park 2, short-stay, Luton, and we’d gone on holiday to Portugal.

‘We were returning yesterday evening and then suddenly the captain of the plane told us that we were diverting to Gatwick due to a large fire that has closed the airport.

‘I saw it all on MailOnline and BBC about the fire.’ 

The pair spent all night trying to get home after being stranded with no car so are yet to call their insurance to see if they will receive any compensation. 

‘We don’t know yet – we’ve not contacted the insurance. We’re going to get some sleep first,’ said Mrs Blackmore, a part-time schoolteacher. 

‘This morning we heard people have been taken to hospital with smoke inhalation and injuries – we just hope they’re okay. You can replace the car but you can’t replace people.

‘It was confusing because we’re on our own – there was no help from anybody. We landed at nearly midnight and we had no assistance.

‘Also we didn’t know whether to go to Luton and pick up the car – we didn’t know what to do – no one told us – we didn’t go because we’d seen the car park had collapsed so we didn’t bother going.’ 

A white car is badly burnt out and almost unrecognisable

A white car is badly burnt out and almost unrecognisable 

One vehicle had been smashed between the concrete car park structure

One vehicle had been smashed between the concrete car park structure 

The airport said it had provided the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) with the registration details of 1,405 vehicles

The airport said it had provided the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) with the registration details of 1,405 vehicles

The structure of the car park came collapsed as the car park burned down in flames

The structure of the car park came collapsed as the car park burned down in flames 

A line of cars are pictured all badly burnt out and unrecognisable

A line of cars are pictured all badly burnt out and unrecognisable 

The fire at the airport came six years after a Land Rover went up in flames at Liverpool’s Echo Arena’s car park.

The blaze at Luton airport also comes six months after Land Rover recalled several models of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport to address issues that could potentially lead to fires.

In 2017 a Land Rover burst into flames within a multi-storey car park in Liverpool, creating a 1,000C inferno that incinerated up to 1,600 vehicles. The fire was hot enough to melt aluminium and engulfed seven floors of the parking structure at the Echo Arena on Liverpool’s waterfront.

And last year a mother-of-two told said she was forced to leap from a window when her Range Rover exploded. Sami Webster was stuck inside the car by the locked doors as plumes of smoke began seeping through the dashboard.

Ms Webster, 30, managed to squeeze through the window to escape after the vehicle burst into flames. In the process the mother suffered two broken ribs and smoke inhalation.



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