Holidaymakers returning to Luton Airport 'left in limbo' after huge blaze tears through car park

12 October 2023, 23:17 | Updated: 13 October 2023, 00:14

A huge blaze destroyed Luton Airport's Terminal 2 car park this week
A huge blaze destroyed Luton Airport's Terminal 2 car park this week. Picture: PA/Alamy/Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Holidaymakers returning to Luton Airport to discover their cars had been destroyed in a huge blaze in its Terminal 2 car park have complained about being "left in limbo".

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Kate Forbes, who enjoyed a holiday with her husband in the Canary Islands, said she has "heard nothing back" since the fire.

Ms Forbes told PA: "I've had no joy with Luton. I've heard nothing back, I've been tweeting them, everything, and nothing.

"I get it, they're getting other people that are going to the airport, but to me there's been no apology, not once has anybody said 'we're sorry about the situation'.

"We're kind of left in limbo."

Luton Airport has since reopened after a huge fire tore through its terminal two car park, which led to the suspension of all flights.

Kate Forbes and her husband Adrian
Kate Forbes and her husband Adrian. Picture: PA

Flights from the Bedfordshire airport were suspended from around 9pm on Tuesday to around 3pm on Wednesday, affecting tens of thousands of passengers.

The airport has now announced all flights have resumed, though disruption is expected to continue beyond today and towards the weekend.

At least 150 flights due to take off or land at the airport were cancelled, analysis suggests.

Meanwhile, another 27 arrivals were diverted to different airports in the UK, including Cardiff and Manchester.

Some 30,000 passengers were affected in total.

Burned out cars are pictured in a charred section of car park, following a fire at London's Luton Airport
Burned out cars are pictured in a charred section of car park, following a fire at London's Luton Airport. Picture: Getty

Devastated Brits returned from holiday to discover their vehicles had gone up in flames following the fire.

As many as 1,200 vehicles are believed to have been damaged in the fire, which began on Tuesday evening.

The airport's terminal two car park partially collapsed as flames engulfed the structure throughout the night.

Three firefighters and a Luton Airport member of staff were taken to hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation.

Read more: Chaos at Luton Airport: Moment car park collapses in huge blaze as up to 1,200 cars damaged and all flights suspended

Read more: Dramatic footage shows the moment car bursts into flames inside Luton Airport car park, damaging 1,200 cars

The move caused chaos for many returning home, with them being redirected to different airports and not knowing if their cars were among those to have been turned to ash.

Andrew Hopkinson, chief fire officer for the local fire service, said the fire was believed to have started with a diesel vehicle.

"We don't believe it was an electric vehicle," he said. "It's believed to be diesel-powered, at this stage all subject to verification.

"And then that fire has quickly and rapidly spread."

Chris Meacey - whose van was parked on floor 1 of the car park - told LBC: “I’m either taking it home in an ashtray or I’m driving it home.”

Meanwhile, others who had left their vehicles in the car park shared their concerns online.

One person posted on Twitter: "I am sat 1700 miles away with our car parked level 1 in car park 2. Does anyone know which part collapsed? Only had automated email for Luton. And 5 working days for reply from car park provider #LutonAirport"

The burnt out shells of cars, buried amongst debris of a multi-storey car park at Luton Airport
The burnt out shells of cars, buried amongst debris of a multi-storey car park at Luton Airport. Picture: Alamy

Another person said: "Our @easyJet flight was diverted from Luton to Manchester. No staff at airport to help and the only comms we had was via app to tell us to make our own way home….Oh and my cars on fire."

A third person said: "@easyJet currently stranded in Luton after being taxied from Stanstead. All roads are obviously closed, we should never have been sent here. My car is in the car park and I have no way of getting it. No explanation from anyone. #lutonfire"

Tim Barker, who extended his holiday, tweeted: "When you should have gone home last night but you wake up to this...on the other hand your car could be a melting mess in Luton!"

One couple - Liz and Gary Blackmore from Loughborough - came back from a five-day holiday in Portugal to find their new £48,000 Mercedes had been destroyed.

Mr Blackmore said in a Facebook post: "What a night. Flew back from Portugal to be told that we are being diverted from Luton due to a fire in a car park! 

"So we end up at Gatwick and then find out it's in the car park where I parked my car. 

"So less than a year old car up in flames and the whole structure has collapsed."

He added: "Now we are struck at Bedford train station at 3.45 in the morning with no trains for three hours and a taxi wanting £150 for 53 miles!! I have to say that I've had better ends to holidays."

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