'We tried to stop Luton airport fire': Eyewitness of the blaze reveals
‘We tried to stop Luton airport fire’: Eyewitness reveals how she and her husband rushed to get fire extinguishers when they saw Range Rover ablaze – but it was too late to stop flames that destroyed £20m multi-storey
- Firefighters spent 12 hours battling blaze at £20million Terminal Car Park Two
- Luton Airport car park fire LIVE: Follow for updates as firefighters tackle blaze
- * Have you been affected by the chaos? Email: [email protected] *
A mother has told how she witnessed the beginnings of the Luton Airport inferno and raced to try and extinguish the flames before realising it was too late and the £20million multi-storey would be engulfed.
The woman said she parked their car on the first floor of multi-storey Car Park 2 at the airport in Bedfordshire last night as she waited for her daughter to arrive from a holiday with her grandparents.
She told MailOnline: ‘We just parked our car and leave it and then we saw the smoke and my husband said ‘Let’s go up to see if someone needs our help.’
‘We just arrived there [on the third floor] and we saw that it’s a fire and we already hear that the fire engine is coming.
‘We try to catch the first fire extinguisher from this floor but they was already used, probably the owner of this car used this.
Did you see what happened at London Luton Airport or have you been affected by the chaos? Email [email protected]
Shocking footage has emerged of a vehicle going up in flames at London Luton Airport, before the huge inferno that caused a car park to collapse, cancelling all flights and leaving five people in hospital
‘When we was then going one floor lower to get the fire extinguisher but as soon as we open the door the fuel tank already exploded and we just couldn’t manage to come near to this car, and we couldn’t manage to stop the fire.
‘I was like two metres away but we just couldn’t manage to come close [enough] to the car with fire extinguisher, because already it was too hot.’
The woman said she and her husband managed to film the car that could have started the accidental blaze, in footage that has been widely circulated on social media.
She said the car was a ‘dark red big Range Rover’ and that she saw the front of the car on fire, suggesting it was the bonnet section of the vehicle.
She added: ‘When we was going downstairs to pick up my daughter, we saw someone from the airport, workers, that they already start to close this car park so they could inform the people that there is the fire and no one is allowed to go in.’
The woman said she was waiting to hear from the police on whether the family car had been damaged and how they would get it back.
Disruption at Luton Airport will last ‘for days’ after a massive inferno destroyed a multi-storey car park and sparked mass flight cancellations.
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 night.
The charred remains of dozens of cars in the Luton Airport multi-storey following last night’s devastating fire
A number of vehicles go up in flames following the blaze at Luton Airport car park last night
Investigators believe the blaze was started when a diesel car, thought to be a Range Rover, suffered an electrical fault or leaking fuel line.
The fire then spread as a number of electric vehicles burst into flames, one firefighter suggested. As many as 1,500 vehicles are feared to have been damaged after the car park, which has a capacity of 1,900, collapsed.
Up to 50,000 passengers are suffering disruption at the airport, which only reopened at 3pm this afternoon, with more than 140 flights cancelled. Most flights are now back on but many are delayed.
Today, an airport worker said the fire would continue to ‘majorly’ impact services in the coming days, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Dramatic footage on CCTV captured the moment the Range Rover caught fire, bringing light fixtures down from the ceiling before a fireball soared through the building. The vehicle appears to be in the middle of the track used to get around the car park, rather than a designated space.
The car park, which opened in 2019 as part of a £20million modernisation drive, did not have sprinklers. One fire chief said this ‘may have made a positive impact on this incident’ and urged the airport to install them in existing and future car parks.
He added that the building’s open sides meant the fire will have spread ‘horizontally’ before it went up through the structure. The inferno burned so hot that the car park building is unsalvageable and will eventually be demolished, sources claimed.
Liz and Gary Blackmore, of Loughborough, have revealed how their new £48,000 car went up in flames after an inferno tore through a car park at Luton airport
Passengers told of their cancelled flights now face a long walk to hotels or other forms of transport
Travellers wheel their luggage along the path following disruption at Luton Airport this morning
The car park is severely damaged after the huge blaze which erupted on Tuesday evening
How Luton’s Terminal Car Park 2 looked prior to the fire which ripped through the building last night
The temperature of the flames soared well over the 600C (1,110F) that would destroy the building’s integrity, and one fire officer said it would have hit six million watts.
The contractor for development of the car park was Buckingham Construction, which went into administration just last month with 500 jobs lost. Lancashire-based Raised Flood Solutions installed part of the floor system but had no design involvement.
It comes as devastated Britons told MailOnline how their cars went up in flames at the site – including one couple who had parked a new £48,000 Mercedes there.
Some are scrambling for parking spaces at different sites while several chain hotels including the local Marriott, Best Western and Hampton have sold out for tonight.
How have flights been affected by the fire at Luton Airport today?
More than 140 flights at London Luton Airport have been cancelled so far today due to the fire, including 73 departures and 70 arrivals.
DEPARTURES CANCELLED – 73
- 25 Wizz Air
- 39 easyJet
- 8 Ryanair
- 1 Air Hamburg
ARRIVALS CANCELLED – 70
- 40 easyJet
- 25 Wizz Air
- 5 Ryanair
ARRIVALS DIVERTED – 11
- 3 to Stansted
- 3 to Cardiff
- 2 to Manchester
- 1 to Liverpool
- 2 to Bristol
A fire officer from London, who attended the scene in the early hours, said they could not now get inside the building to figure out the extent of the damage.
Speaking outside the partially burned-out car park, he said: ‘We can’t get close enough to see.
‘It’s too dangerous, it will probably fall down on you, so they will probably to an insurance job and bring it all down.’
Another officer, who would not be named, added that the loud bangs audible in videos circulated via social media would have been fuel tanks, tyres, and EV tanks.
The most common cause of car fires is an electrical fault with the 12-volt battery system, according to AA technical expert Greg Carter. He added that diesel is ‘much less flammable’ than petrol, and in a car it takes ‘intense pressure or sustained flame’ to ignite diesel.
Thomas Cruz, 53, jetted off from Luton on a business trip to Mallorca on Monday, parking his car at 3.45pm.
The vehicle, a three-year-old Mercedes E-Class 220d which retails for over £30,000, was parked on the second floor when the lot collapsed.
Thomas, who is from Wokingham, said the only news he has had on his car was from his Mercedes Me app.
As the car park fire raged on Tuesday, he received an alert just after midnight warning him that his bonnet was open.
‘I have no information on if my car survived or not,’ he told MailOnline.
He said that he has heard nothing from Luton Airport, despite getting in touch, apart from to say that flights were cancelled on Wednesday.
‘I don’t get back until Monday, will I have to wait until then to find out what has happened to my car?’
Liz Blackmore, 57, had parked her £48,000 Mercedes on the top floor of the car park before heading off on holiday to Portugal.
She told MailOnline: ‘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.
‘We’re devastated. It 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.’
She added that she wasn’t sure yet whether she’d be able to get any money back.
‘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 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.’
Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the car park at Luton airport last night
Dramatic footage, caught on a CCTV camera, captures the moment an explosion erupts in the car park, bringing light fixtures down from the ceiling, before a fireball soars through the building
The blaze, which was finally controlled and extinguished just before 9am, was started when a diesel car – which MailOnline understands to be a Range Rover – suffered an electrical fault or leaking fuel line, investigators believe
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service continues to battle the inferno at the airport’s Terminal 2 this morning, more than nine hours after the multi-storey was engulfed by flames and caved in just before 9pm last night
As many as 1,500 vehicles were affected by the collapse of the car park at Luton airport last night
Fire crews continued to work hard this morning as they battled the damage caused by last night’s blaze
A fire engine at Luton Airport this morning after a huge fire which caused a car park to collapse
A charred section of a parking structure is seen after it caught fire and partially collapsed at London’s Luton Airport
A charred section of a parking structure is seen this morning after it caught fire and partially collapsed at London’s Luton Airport
The aftermath of the devastating fire at Luton Airport’s car park was seen this morning
Investigators continue to work at Luton Airport following the collapse of a car park last night
A number of cars can be seen badly damaged after the car park collapsed
A charred section of a parking structure is seen after it caught fire and partially collapsed at London’s Luton Airport
Firefighters gather as they continue to work on the Luton Airport car park this morning
The scene at Luton Airport which has been closed after a fire ripped through a multi-storey car park, causing it to collapse
Tom Wiercinski, 42, flew back to Luton from Poland last night and landed around 9.30pm.
His Honda Civic was in the car park at the time and he feared the worst as he saw flames and smoke billowing into the air.
What are you rights if your flight is cancelled? Travel expert NICKY KELVIN reveals what airlines must provide
A number of flights have been suspended owing to a large fire at one of Luton Airport’s car parks overnight, causing a partial collapse of one of the buildings.
With a number of flight cancellations and delays expected today as a result, it’s important that travellers check their flights – by checking airport arrival and departure boards online and their specific airline’s website to ensure that their flight is still proceeding as normal.
It’s important to keep an eye on emails too – travellers are often given updates on cancellations here before anywhere else.
For an expert travel hack, I would recommend looking at Flight Radar 24 which allows users to track the exact aircraft that will be flying your route.
Travellers will then be able to see where there plane is and whether it has made it out of its previous destination. Knowing this information will help them to determine whether they will be encountering any delays ahead of your trip.
If you’re delayed for more than two hours on a short-haul flight, airlines must provide you with support such as food and drink and reimbursement for phone calls.
If you’re delayed overnight, they will provide you accommodation and transport to a hotel or home.
Usually if you arrive at your destination more than three hours late you are entitled to compensation, however as this is an air traffic control issue and out of the airlines’ control, this type of compensation will not be payable.
If your flight has been cancelled, the airline should find you a new flight if you elect for that option. You can also request that the airline gives you a flight on a rival provider if there’s a flight available that’s earlier than your original airline can offer.
You don’t have to travel with the same airline. The issue with this situation is that all airlines have been affected by these issues so trying to fly with different airlines may also not be possible.
NICKY KELVIN is editor at The Points Guy. For more of his tips, click here
Mr Wiercinski told MailOnline: ‘I saw the fire as we were landing and I could see it was coming from the car park where I had my car.
‘I thought my car had been destroyed so as soon as I was out through arrivals I went to check.
‘It was in the ‘meet and greet’ section on the second floor and was away from the section where the fire broke out.
‘But I don’t know if there’s been any damage because I haven’t been allowed anywhere near it because of issues around buildings safety.
‘I live in Northamptonshire and so stayed overnight in the Ibis Hotel. I’m supposed to be at work but I’m having to do everything remotely.’
James Davison, 37, from St Albans, Hertfordshire was travelling back from Portugal with his partner, Sarah, 32, when they were diverted to Gatwick.
They had parked their £32,000 VW Tiguan in Car Prk 2 which they fear has been destroyed in the blaze.
James, an accountant said: ‘We haven’t been told for sure but we fear the car has gone. It’s devastating, what with the cost of the holiday it’ll cost a fortune.
‘We were due to land last night and the pilot just said that we had to divert. It cost us money just coming back here from Gatwick.’
Meanwhile, eight Polish passengers revealed how they been stranded for nine hours after their early morning flight from Luton Airport was cancelled.
Access to the Airport from the Luton Direct Air-Rail Transit has been closed, leaving passengers stuck at Luton Airport Parkway station.
One passenger is exercising at the station while his flight has been delayed for a ‘couple of hours’.
Nikodem Lesiak, 18, said he and seven other Polish university students are ‘tired’ as they have been stranded since 12 am after their 7:50 am flight to Krakow, Poland, was cancelled. The students have been in the UK for holiday for five days.
He said: ‘We are tired, and we have spent the whole night here. We need to get to Poland as fast as possible.
‘When we got here, we found out Luton is burning and everything is closed, and we were supposed to have our flight at 7:50 today but it was cancelled. We found another ticket to Poland from another city and then we have to take a coach to the city we live in.’
There next flight will be leaving at 12:40 pm, however Mr Lesiak said they are taking a ‘risk’ as their flight might again be cancelled.
Passengers and even airline staff frantically tried to book hotel rooms so that they’d have somewhere to sleep for the night, but with most at full capacity, many had to sleep in reception.
One couple revealed how they had to walk in the dark on a dual carriageway to get to their room.
Jackie Evans, from Portsmouth, whose flight with husband Robin from Naples to Luton was diverted to Stansted told the BBC: ‘We overheard they were putting on a shuttle bus but we had to sit on it for half an hour before it left and we were then dumped at Luton Airport Parkway.
‘We had to walk for half an hour in the dark on a dual carriageway to get to our hotel and we have only had two and a half hours sleep so we are completely shattered.’
Holiday Inn, Marriott, Hilton and Best Western hotels in the area are all sold out for tonight.
Firefighters continue to work on making the car park safe this morning following last night’s fire
A worker approaches the car park at Luton which has been gutted by fire last night
Emergency workers continue to work this morning to make the area safe following last night’s blaze
The Blackmore family’s Mercedes was less than a year old and was parked on the top floor of the carpark which went up in flames
A Polish family who came on holiday to London today told how they slept on the floor.
Gregorz Szmit, 46, said their flight to Gdansk should have departed at 9.50pm on Tuesday and is now scheduled to leave at 7.30pm on Wednesday.
Mr Szmit, speaking from the terminal building where he is waiting with his wife and their two sons aged seven and 15, said: ‘We were on holiday for five days to visit London – British Museum, Trafalgar Square.
‘This is difficult, I must say. This is our first journey to England, to London. It’s been an adventure.’
Agnieske Szmit, 44, added: ‘We missed our work today, the children should be at school.’
She said they slept on the floor of the terminal building and on benches after their flight was cancelled on Tuesday evening.
‘They tried to evacuate us but they didn’t say where, just go outside and follow the crowds,’ she said.
READ MORE: Our new £48,000 Mercedes was destroyed in the Luton airport car park fire
‘The police in the night – it was cold outside.’
The chaos has also seen a frantic dash for parking spaces, with nearly 2,000 now out of action as a result of the fire.
A check on Luton Airport’s website at about 9am today found there was no availability for parking on any of its official sites before Friday, October 27 – with a space at the Terminal 1 Car Park available for £138 for the week from that date.
The website, which had a wait time of eight minutes just to enter it this morning amid heightened demand, said the area is just a four-minute walk to the terminal, and is the closest car park to the terminal entrance.
The fire took place at the airport’s new Terminal Car Park 2 – and no spaces were listed on that site over the coming weeks and months, even when looking one year in advance.
Demand will now likely increase for rival operators such as Purple Parking and Airparks, for which the cheapest price available through both websites for a week from October 27 was £170 for a ‘meet-and-greet’ service.
Andrew Hopkinson, chief fire officer for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said at around 10am this morning that the fire at Luton Airport has been ‘stood down from a major incident’.
He told reporters at the scene that a ramp is being installed ‘into the unaffected car park because the normal exit route is not safe to take vehicles out’.
He went on: ‘We’ve currently got four fire appliances and a couple of other specialist crews but we are very much focused on getting a handover and getting this airport open as quickly as we can.’
He said there are ‘just shy of 1,500’ vehicles in the affected car park, which charges £67.50 per day, with many appearing charred and covered in debris in pictures taken this morning.
He added: ‘There is a substantial number that are not damaged and our focus as well is can we remove those vehicles safely without causing any danger to the responders?’
The burnt out shells of cars, buried amongst debris of a multi-storey car park at Luton Airport
How the charred car park appears this morning from the other side of London Luton Airport
There was also huge demand for parking this morning, with the airport’s website introducing a queuing system, with desperate passengers having to wait several minutes to even browse the site
The damage caused by the fire to the car park at London Luton Airport last night
Emergency crews gather to discuss the incident which has caused disruption for thousands of people
A pile of debris at the Luton Airport car park following last night’s shocking fire
Fire crews used a range of equipment before finally bringing the situation under control just before 9am
Damage can be seen to the Terminal Car Park 2 structure at Luton Airport this morning
The burnt out remains of the car park following Tuesday’s fire
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