The car park at Luton Airport which collapsed following a massive fire destroying more than 1,400 cars is to be demolished, the airport has confirmed.
The fire in the airport’s multistorey Terminal Car Park 2 on October 10 was declared a major incident and more than 100 firefighters were deployed to bring the blaze under control.
The flames spread across multiple floors of the car park and caused a partial collapse of the structure.
A man aged in his 30s was arrested by Bedfordshire Police on suspicion of criminal damage and later released on bail pending further inquiries.
Due to the extent of the structural damage, the car park will need to be fully demolished, and any cars parked on levels ground to three are not recoverable
Neil Thompson, London Luton Airport
It is understood the man had been arrested “as a precaution” several days after the fire and officers believe the blaze started when a diesel car, possibly a Range Rover, suffered an electrical fault or leaking fuel line.
Now Neil Thompson, operations director at London Luton Airport, has announced that the car park will be “fully demolished” along with any cars parked on the ground to third levels.
He said in a statement: “I know the past few weeks since the fire have been extremely challenging and difficult for you.
“Regrettably, I can now confirm, that due to the extent of the structural damage, the car park will need to be fully demolished, and any cars parked on levels ground to three are not recoverable, ahead of the demolition work.
“This is consistent with our initial assessment, which has now been confirmed following a full structural report.
“The process to remove around 100 vehicles from the top deck to stabilise the structure is ongoing.
“This has been a painstaking task and has taken longer than expected, not least because we have been hampered by periods of bad weather and strong winds.”
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service previously said as many as 1,500 cars were inside when the blaze broke out and it is unlikely any would be salvageable.
The airport said it had provided the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) with the registration details of 1,405 vehicles and, along with its parking provider APCOA, it had responded to almost 16,500 customer queries since the fire.
Mr Thompson said: “If you believe your car may be one of these and you would like further information please contact your insurance company directly, as they and their partners have begun the process of retrieving these vehicles.
“It is reassuring to note that the vast majority of insurance claims have been settled.
“If you have yet to receive your final settlement, the advice is to contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
“I understand that this has been a distressing situation and we have tried to keep you updated as best we can throughout, whilst working with the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) and the Association of British Insurers to enable the claims process to be managed as quickly as possible.
“On behalf of everyone at London Luton Airport, I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding as we have worked through this unprecedented situation.”
An ABI spokeswoman said: “While we understand the majority of claims have been resolved, we appreciate that the situation and news that Luton Airport’s Terminal Car Park 2 will be demolished is very distressing for those affected.
“Our members have worked hard to provide urgent support to their customers and will continue to do all they can to settle any outstanding claims as quickly as possible.
“We have worked with Luton Airport, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau and salvage operators throughout this process and will continue to work together while the final claims are resolved and vehicles from the top deck are recovered.”