All 1,400 vehicles in burned out Luton airport car park ‘unlikely to be salvageable’ after fire

Cars are likely to be destroyed when the structure is demolished, though some personal possessions may be retrieved

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Monday 16 October 2023 04:56 BST
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Fire engulfs Luton Airport car park as all flights suspended

Following the severe fire in a car park at Luton airport, all 1,405 vehicles currently in the facility are likely to be destroyed when the structure is demolished.

The news emerged five days after the blaze at the airport’s Car Park 2. The fire led to the closure of the airport for 18 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday, 10-11 October; 235 flights were cancelled, affecting up to 40,000 passengers.

The fire at the airport afftected tens of thousands of passengers

A spokesperson for Luton airport said: “Regrettably, it is unlikely that any vehicles in the car park will be salvageable. However, this is still in the process of being assessed.

“We are working with the Association of British Insurers on behalf of the many insurance companies to establish whether it will be possible to safely retrieve any personal possessions and, if so, how this process may work.”

Details of the vehicles have been provided to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau which in turn has handed them on to individual insurance firms.

On the day after the fire, a senior fire officer told The Independent that the extreme temperatures during the blaze will have weakened the multi-storey car park so much that attempting to recover vehicles could be deemed too dangerous.

The site has now been handed back to the airport, following police and fire investigation. Work to assess the structural integrity of the car park is underway, with stabilisation work scheduled to begin on Monday.

When the task is complete – which is likely to take several days – the prospects for salvaging any vehicles and possessions will be reassessed.

Luton airport Car Park 2 after the blaze

The Luton airport spokesperson added: “We recognise this has been an extremely distressing time for all concerned.

“We would like to thank our customers for their ongoing patience and understanding while we work through the many complexities following this incident.

“Since Tuesday evening, together with Apcoa parking, we have responded to almost 16,500 customer queries. Dealing with such a large volume of inquiries, while an investigation is ongoing, has naturally extended our response times.”

Car Park 1, adjacent to the structure hit by the blaze, is now open and operating normally. But capacity for vehicles to park in the central area of Luton airport has been sharply reduced because of the fire.

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