As many as 1,405 vehicles are likely to have been destroyed in a fire at Luton airport’s car park last week.
The airport shared an update on Sunday that it is “unlikely that any vehicles in the car park will be salvageable, but this is still in the process of being assessed” after the devastating fire in a multi-storey car park next to the terminal, which caused days of transport chaos.
Parking management company APCOA Parking added that the site “remains too dangerous to enter” as safety work continues, adding: “We understand the distress this incident has caused for our car parking customers … we appreciate just how stressful the last few days have been and we are sorry that we have not been in a position to provide all of the detail you need, but this has been an extremely complex situation.”
The firm said it had “provided the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) with the registration details of 1,405 vehicles” – while assessments with the Association of British Insurers have continued to determine whether it will be possible to retrieve any personal possessions that may have survived the blaze.
Only months after it opened, the airport’s £290m direct air-rail transit (DART) shuttle, which runs between Luton Airport Parkway station and the airport terminal next to the destroyed car park, will remain out of action “until further notice”.
It has been temporarily replaced by a shuttle bus, with passengers advised to allow extra time for their journeys.
Fifteen fire appliances and more than 100 firefighters were deployed on the evening of Tuesday 10 October in response to a reported fire on level three of Luton’s Terminal Car Park 2. Four firefighters and a member of airport staff were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and another firefighter was treated at the scene.
Though the flames were largely extinguished by Wednesday morning, it meant that an estimated 30,000 passengers faced 150 cancellations and 27 diversions to alternative airports, according to an analysis of flight websites.
Drivers have complained of a lack of information after the incident. Lucy Lynam, a 42-year-old accountant from Hertfordshire, said: “I’m still none the wiser as to the state of my car … I’m expecting the worst.”
Katie Forbes, 42, said she had “heard nothing back” from the airport, adding: “There’s been no apology, not once has anybody said ‘we’re sorry about the situation’. We’re kind of left in limbo.”
Steve Amos told The Telegraph: “We’ve been left to our own devices. The airport has offered no help at all.
“We don’t know when we’re going to have a car again or how we’re going to get home now.”
Andrew Hopkinson, the chief fire officer for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said last week that while the cause of the fire is still under investigation, it is believed the inferno started from a diesel vehicle before spreading rapidly and resulting in “significant structural collapse”.
There was no suggestion that it had been started intentionally.