(RepublicanDaily.org) – A massive fire in the parking structure of the U.K.’s Luton Airport recently prompted the cancellation of hundreds of flights, leaving more than 40,000 passengers stranded.
The blaze started from a single car parked in the structure, which then quickly spread to other nearby vehicles. Within minutes, the whole top floor of the parking building was a raging inferno. Witnesses from incoming flights managed to see the incredible speed at which the fires spread.
It was “like a flamethrower,” one witness told a news outlet.
Flights have since resumed after firefighters managed to contain the blaze, which took the combined efforts of 15 fire engines and more than 100 firefighters. The fire also resulted in major structural damage to the three-level parking building. The car park did not have sprinklers, which allowed the fire to spread unabated and cause maximum damage.
Firefighters and staff were treated for smoke inhalation, but no fatalities were reported as of press time. However, damage to property was severe, and authorities estimate that hundreds of cars to have been damaged by either the fire or structural collapse. The car park was said to have a capacity to hold 1,900 vehicles. A temporary ramp is also being constructed to allow unaffected cars to exit the facility, as the existing vehicle ramps have become unsafe to drive on. The extent of the structural damage is still unknown, but the whole building may need to be demolished and a new one built since firefighters estimate the blaze to have caused the structure’s steel beams to heat up to more than 600 degrees, making the beams brittle.
Investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire, which supposedly started from a diesel vehicle parked in the structure. At the moment, authorities say that all signs point to an accidental fire, and no foul play is suspected.
Luton is the U.K.’s fifth largest airport, and is estimated to have serviced more than 13 million passengers last year. Heathrow is the U.K.’s largest, followed by Gatwick, Manchester and Stansted airports.
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