Fire safety warning after Luton Airport car park structural collapse

The blaze which ripped through a car park at Luton Airport this week, leading to its partial collapse, has prompted safety warnings from fire industry experts.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service received calls to a fire involving a car on level three of the multi-storey car park at London Luton Airport at 20:47 on 10 October and declared a major incident at 21:38.

“A severe fire rapidly spread through the structure and the severity of the fire has caused significant structural collapse,” the service said in a statement.

Andrew Hopkinson, chief fire officer for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said no sprinkler system was in the car park and that its presence “may have had a positive impact on this incident”.

The car park, which opened four years ago, is now likely to be demolished.

Aftermath of the Luton Airport car park fire (image: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service)
Aftermath of the Luton Airport car park fire (Image: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service)

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said the initial vehicle involved in the fire was a diesel car and it believed that up to 1,200 vehicles may have been in the car park at the time of the fire.

“An investigation to determine the cause of the fire is underway,” it added.

A statement from the Fire Industry Association, which represents more than 1,000 fire protection companies, said it “reiterates the importance of robust fire safety measures, especially in densely populated and high-traffic areas, to mitigate the risks and impacts of fire incidents”.

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  1. I agree Sprinkler systems should be mandatory!
    At least it is a starter.

  2. Is this the same construction as the Liverpool car park several years ago?

  3. All safety aspects for the car park and car safety should have been taken into consideration for the valuation of the quote (estimate) for the project prior to commencement. A sprinkler system installation on all floors should have been compulsory. These cost-cutting exercises must stop! Imagine what this dilemma is going to cost the insurance companies!

  4. “The FIA reiterates robust fire safety measures”? Mandatory is the way forward. There shouldn’t be car parks with cramped spaces and no fire suppression. Planning and design sign-off needs to change quickly. Access/egress for cars and pedestrians needs attention, in particular access/egress to and from adjoining roads/high streets.
    A domestic garden fence built too high can have LABC visiting your home but car parks with no sprinklers can be opened.
    Are we actually learning from tragedies or just ticking boxes?
    We are supposed to be leaders of health and safety, let’s stop tip-toeing before there’s another tragic incident.

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