A massive fireball exploded, engulfing Luton Airport car park in the UK with “lots of electric vehicles potentially involved.”
The fire destroyed a parking garage at one of the UK’s major airports, grounding flights and disrupting travel.
The large multi-story car park, which contained over 1,000 cars, collapsed during the fire on Tuesday evening as the blaze spread across to other vehicles, causing them to explode.
The fire service said the presence of many electric cars likely caused the blaze.
There were “lots of electric vehicles potentially involved quite early on… The cars were parked very close, next to each other. So unfortunately that was probably the reason for the rapid fire spread,” the fire commander said.
Efforts are still ongoing to extinguish a serious fire at Luton Airport. We are continuing to protect surrounding airport infrastructure, vehicles and the Luton DART. For anyone whose travel plans may be affected, please refer to the advice being provided by London Luton Airport. pic.twitter.com/tNFo4hvRdX— Beds Fire and Rescue (@BedsFire) October 11, 2023
According to eyewitnesses, the explosion was similar to a “flamethrower.”
“It didn’t look that bad initially… but suddenly there was an explosion, and there was a massive gout of flame that shot across the car park like a flamethrower. Then cars were exploding”.
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said the fire was “rapidly escalating” before it was declared an incident on Tuesday night.
Sky News reported as many as 1,500 vehicles are thought to have been in the car park at the time of the fire – with up to 1,200 believed to be damaged.
A temporary ramp is being installed to enable undamaged vehicles to be removed.
The fire service said one-half of the car park was “fully involved in the fire” and that the building had suffered a “significant structural collapse.’
“Crews have controlled and extinguished the fire at Luton Airport,” it said in a statement posted on X/Twitter.
“Four crews and an aerial appliance remain at the scene.”
Crews have controlled and extinguished the fire at Luton Airport. Four crews and an aerial appliance remain at the scene. All flights are suspended until 3pm. If you have a flight leaving before 3pm, please do not travel. Please avoid the area owing to severe traffic delays. pic.twitter.com/ji5HR1Qmug— Beds Fire and Rescue (@BedsFire) October 11, 2023
As The Daily Mail reported, the shocking blaze canceled 140 flights and has left hundreds of British holidaymakers stranded in Luton this morning, with no way of getting home, as many took to social media to vent their frustration.
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.”
Watch the moment the explosion took place at the airport car park:
Luton Airport car exploded pic.twitter.com/geO2Q4KypY— Lisa B (@Lisamfb) October 11, 2023
The news comes less than a month after an electric car exploded while sitting on the driveway of a family home in the UK.
In July, Fire brigades in the UK said they are being forced to double the crews sent to blazes involving the EVs.
Energy stored in the batteries causes massive heat in a process known as ‘thermal runaway,’ which produces ‘rocket-like’ flames.
Essex Fire area manager Jim Palmer said: “The dangers posed by electric vehicle fires do not end with putting out the flames.”
“There have been many cases of electric vehicle fires reigniting sometimes even days after being extinguished.”