London Luton Airport have halted ALL Flights until 15:00 BST after the fire ripped through a terminal car park causing a “significant structural collapse”
Car alarms and loud explosions were heard, with one witness described the speed at which the blaze spread through the upper floor of the car park as “incredible”.
Bedfordshire Fire Service said “Four firefighters and an airport staff member were taken to hospital whilst tackling about 1,500 vehicles which may have been subsequently damaged.
Adding “The fire is believed to have been accidental, and would have started in a vehicle that arrived at about the time the fire started, shortly before 21:00 BST.
Passengers onboard ready for take off had to as the fire broke out said: “We were all just told to get off the flight, that there was an incident and then we were left in the airport with no proper explanation.”
Hundreds of people were stranded at Luton Airport with many saying their cars were in the car park.
Andy Hopkinson, Bedfordshire’s chief fire officer, said the service had “no intelligence than to suggest it was anything other than an accidental fire”.
He said it was thought the fire started with a diesel car, and then spread through the car park.
The car park, which holds 1,900 vehicles, did not appear to have sprinklers, according to Mr Hopkinson. The car park’s open sides would have allowed the fire to spread “horizontally” before it went up through the building.
He praised his team and confirmed no members of the public were harmed.
Earlier, the ambulance service said a member of the public and six firefighters had suffered smoke inhalation.
Another passenger said “some of us were very frightened because we’d travelled by ourselves” and “didn’t have anywhere to go” after being told to leave the airport.
Russell Taylor, 41, an account director from Kinross, saw the flames after flying in to London Luton from Edinburgh.
He told the PA news agency: “There were a couple of fire engines with a car ablaze on the upper floor of the car park at just after 9pm.
“A few minutes later most of the upper floor was alight, car alarms were going off with loud explosions from cars going up in flames.”
The airport said in a statement: “All flights are currently suspended as emergency services respond to a car fire that has spread in Terminal Car Park 2.
“Access to the airport is currently restricted and we ask that people do not travel to the airport at this time. Further updates to follow.”
It said additional staff were on hand to provide assistance to passengers, and said they should contact their airline for flight information.