Fire at Luton Airport: Terminal car park collapses partially
Luton Airport in Bedfordshire, UK, found itself in the midst of a major incident when a massive fire broke out in one of its multi-storey car parks. The blaze, which occurred on the 9th of October, caused significant damage, including a partial collapse of the car park structure. In the wake of this fiery disaster, four firefighters and one airport staff member were rushed to the hospital with injuries.
The fire at Luton Airport
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service declared the incident at 9:38 pm, and at its peak, over 100 firefighters, along with 15 fire engines and three specialist aerial appliances, were deployed to the scene. The fire consumed roughly half of the car park and led to structural damage that compromised the entire building.
Andrew Hopkinson, Chief Fire Officer at Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, revealed that the car park contained approximately 1,500 vehicles, with up to 1,200 believed to have sustained damage. Efforts were made to install a temporary ramp to enable the removal of undamaged vehicles.
Firefighters faced a severe and rapidly spreading fire upon arrival, and the blaze ultimately spread to multiple floors. Early assessments indicated that the fire likely began in a diesel-fueled car, and while electric vehicles were not believed to be the cause, the precise origin is still under investigation.
Flight irregularities at Luton Airport
As a result of the fire, Luton Airport was compelled to suspend all flights temporarily. It wasn't until after 3 pm the following day that arrivals and departures resumed, and staff remained on hand to assist passengers. The first plane to land was a Wizz Air flight from Cardiff, while a Ryanair flight from Luton to Lanzarote took off later in the afternoon. The disruptions affected an estimated 25,000 airline passengers, according to analysis by the Press Association.
Firefighting efforts and recovery at Luton Airport
Throughout the night, firefighters worked tirelessly to extinguish the immense blaze and prevent its spread to nearby structures and vehicles on the airport runway. By the next morning, the fire service announced that the fire was under control and extinguished, but it urged people to avoid the area due to traffic delays.
The East England Ambulance Service reported that four firefighters and one airport staff member were taken to Luton and Dunstable Hospital for treatment. Thankfully, one patient was discharged at the scene.
In response to the incident, Luton Airport issued a statement through their social media channels. They mentioned that their priority was to support emergency services and ensure the safety of passengers and staff. As a result, all flights were suspended until 3 pm on Wednesday, and passengers were advised not to travel to the airport due to restricted access. Passengers were encouraged to contact their respective airlines for information about their flights.
Eyewitness accounts of the fire
Eyewitnesses captured dramatic scenes of the fire tearing through vehicles parked on an upper floor of Terminal Car Park 2. The videos posted on social media showed the intense and terrifying nature of the blaze, with some witnesses even noting that they could hear cars exploding.
One individual, whose car was parked in the affected car park, described the extent of the damage, stating that "all Car Park 2 is completely finished."
Russell Taylor, an account director from Kinross in Scotland, witnessed the fire's rapid escalation after landing at Luton Airport from Edinburgh. He recalled the intensity of the flames and the alarming sight of car alarms going off with loud explosions.
Another passenger, Agnieske Szmit, found herself spending the night on the benches of the terminal building as her family's flight from Luton to Gdansk, Poland, was canceled due to the fire. She highlighted the impact on her family's schedule, as children should have been at school and work was missed.
The incident at Luton Airport serves as a stark reminder of the challenges and disruptions caused by unforeseen emergencies, and the resilience of the emergency services in the face of such incidents. Airport authorities are working diligently to restore normal operations and support passengers affected by the disruption.
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