Luton Airport closed as fire rips through car park

Luton Airport has been closed after a fire ripped through a multi-storey car park, causing it to collapse.

Firefighters are tackling the blaze which began on Tuesday evening and appears to have destroyed hundreds of cars.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the airport said emergency services remain at the scene and flights would be suspended until 3pm, having initially been paused until noon.

Four firefighters and a member of airport staff were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and another firefighter was treated at the scene.

Russell Taylor, 41, an account director from Kinross in Scotland, saw the flames after flying in to Luton Airport from Edinburgh.

He told the PA news agency: “There were a couple of fire engines with a car ablaze on the upper floor of the car park at just after 9pm.

“A few minutes later most of the upper floor was alight, car alarms were going off with loud explosions from cars going up in flames.

“The speed in which the fire took hold was incredible.

In a statement issued on social media shortly after 7am, Luton Airport said: “Our priority remains supporting the emergency services and the safety of our passengers and staff. Therefore, we have now taken the decision to suspend all flights until 3pm on Wednesday 11th October.

“Passengers are advised not to travel to the airport at this time, as access remains severely restricted.”

Nearby residents were told to close their windows to avoid the smoke.

Andrew Hopkinson, chief fire officer for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said it received the first report about the blaze at 8.47pm and its first two appliances arrived at the scene just under 10 minutes later.

The fire was on the third floor of the terminal car park two.

Speaking to reporters at the scene, he said: “On arrival my officers were faced with a severe and rapidly spreading fire involving a large number of vehicles that ultimately spread to multiple floors and involved a partial collapse of the car park.

“The incident was declared a major incident at 9.38pm. The car park has a capacity of just over 1,900 cars and we estimate up to 1,500 cars are in the affected car park.

“At its peak we had 15 fire appliances, over 100 firefighters and a number of specialist resources.”

Describing the car park, Luton Airport’s website said: “Our brand new multi-story car park offering secure, on-site parking using just a five-minute walk to the terminal entrance.”

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