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

11 October 2023, 06:10 | Updated: 11 October 2023, 10:05

Emergency services are at the scene
Emergency services are at the scene. Picture: Social media

By Emma Soteriou

Flights at Luton Airport have been suspended after a huge fire broke out in a terminal car park.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The blaze ripped through the airport's terminal two car park on Tuesday evening, causing "partial structural collapse".

Four firefighters and one member of airport staff were taken to Luton and Dunstable Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation following the incident, the East England Ambulance Service said. Another patient was discharged at the scene.

As many as 1,200 vehicles are believed to have been damaged in the fire.

Luton Airport has since confirmed that all flights are suspended until Wednesday afternoon.

Despite initially planning to reopen at 12pm, the airport said flights would be suspended until at least 3pm.

Firefighters at the scene on Wednesday morning
Firefighters at the scene on Wednesday morning. Picture: LBC

A 9.30am update on Twitter read: "Emergency services remain on the scene following last night's fire in Terminal Car Park 2.

"Our priority remains supporting the emergency services and the safety of our passengers and staff. We're working hard to get the airport operational as soon as possible. All flights are currently suspended until 3pm on Wednesday 11th October.

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

It added: "Passengers should contact their airline for information regarding their flight."

A post from the airport suggested the fire started in a single car but no further details have been given.

Video footage posted online showed the huge blaze on the top floor of the £20 million car park.

Read More: Palestine supporters set off fireworks outside Israeli embassy, as British Jews hold vigil for victims of Hamas attack

Read More: Hamas fires rockets on Israel city of Ashkelon after warning residents to leave or die

Bedfordshire fire service declared a major incident as it said 80 per cent of the car park's third floor was affected.

A spokesperson for the force said: "We are currently in attendance at a significant fire in a multi-storey car park involving numerous cars in Terminal Car Park 2 at Luton Airport.

The collapsed car park
The collapsed car park. Picture: LBC

"First calls were received at 2047.

"We have 15 fire appliances, and three specialist aerial appliances from across the county and surrounding counties in attendance and this has been declared a major incident by Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

"One half of the structure is fully involved in fire and the building has suffered a significant structural collapse.

"Fire crews are working to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading to adjacent buildings and vehicles on air side of the airport.

"Police and ambulance are in attendance.

"Local residents are advised to close windows and doors and avoid the area."

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

He said: "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."

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.”