LONDON (AP) — A massive fire broke out on Tuesday evening at London’s Luton airport, prompting the suspension of all flights and causing significant disruption for thousands of travelers. The fire originated in a recently constructed parking garage, leading to the destruction of vehicles and partial collapse of the structure.
Several individuals, including four firefighters and an airport employee, were treated for smoke inhalation and received medical attention at nearby hospitals.
In a statement, the airport announced that all flights would remain suspended until at least 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Passengers were strongly advised to avoid the airport as emergency crews continued their operations at the scene.
Situated approximately 56 kilometers (35 miles) north of central London, Luton serves as a major hub for popular budget airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair, offering flights to various destinations within the United Kingdom and Europe.
As a result of the airport closure, some passengers were left stranded at the adjacent railway station while they awaited further updates regarding their travel arrangements.
Nikodem Lesiak, a university student who had plans to return to Poland, recounted his experience of spending the night at the station due to the airport shutdown. He expressed his frustration, stating, “We arrived here only to discover that Luton was engulfed in flames and everything was shut down. Our flight was scheduled for 7:50 today, but it was unfortunately canceled.”
Massive Fire Engulfs Parking Garage at UK Airport
Video footage circulating on social media and British news websites captured a horrifying scene as flames engulfed the top level of a multi-story parking structure at Terminal 2 of a UK airport. The fire was so intense that the parking garage partially collapsed in the wake of the blaze.
Emergency Response and Injuries
At least five individuals were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment, while one person received on-site medical attention. The Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service reported that their teams were diligently “monitoring the smoldering remains” the following morning. Chief Fire Officer Andrew Hopkinson disclosed that the inferno is believed to have originated from a diesel vehicle, and unfortunately, the recently opened parking facility did not have sprinklers installed.
No Signs of Foul Play
Eyewitness Account Paints a Horrifying Picture
Russell Taylor, an account director from Kinross in Scotland, arrived at Luton Airport from Edinburgh, only to witness the terrifying flames firsthand. According to his statement to the PA news agency, Taylor initially noticed a few fire engines attending to a burning car on an upper level.
“Within minutes,” he recounted, “the fire quickly spread, consuming most of the upper floor. Car alarms blared amidst deafening explosions as vehicles turned into raging infernos. The speed with which the fire took hold was absolutely unbelievable.”