Police have arrested a man in connection with a devastating car fire that broke out at Luton Airport.
The huge blaze saw up to 1,500 vehicles go up in flames, which were later left unsalvageable, while flights at the airport were grounded during the incident at the £20m multi-storey on Tuesday October 10.
Bedfordshire Police said that a man in his 30s was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage last week. He has been released on bail while enquiries continue.
One hundred firefighters spent 12 hours battling the inferno at the airport’s Terminal Car Park Two when it was engulfed by flames and caved in just before 9pm.
Investigators believed the blaze was started when a diesel car, thought to be a Range Rover, suffered an electrical fault or leaking fuel line.
Police have arrested a man in connection with a devastating car fire that broke out at Luton Airport
The huge blaze saw up to 1,500 motors go up in flames, which were left unsalvageable
Cars were engulfed in flames after one reportedly exploded at the short stay
A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: ‘Police last week arrested a man in his 30s on suspicion of criminal damage in connection to their investigation into a significant fire in a car park at London Luton Airport on Tuesday (10 October).
‘We are carrying out a thorough and diligent investigation into all potential lines of enquiry, as should be expected after such a major event.
‘The man has been released on bail while our enquiries continue.’
Andrew Hopkinson, chief fire officer for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said at the time that up to 1,500 vehicles were inside the car park at the time of the fire.
He added: ‘We don’t believe it was an electric vehicle. It’s believed to be diesel-powered, at this stage all subject to verification. And then that fire has quickly and rapidly spread.’
In a statement the airport said it was ‘unlikely that any vehicles in the car park will be salvageable’ but this was ‘still in the process of being assessed’.
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.
The multi-storey was left extensively damaged by the fire, with the wrecks of cars piled up within the blackened structure.
Shocking pictures have revealed the extent of the damage to vehicles which were parked in the car park, with burnt out cars pictured flipped on their side and crushed under the concrete.
Shocking images have revealed the extent of the damage to vehicles which were parked in the Luton Airport car park when it went up in flames
One car looks almost unrecognisable as it is pictured with smashed windows
Shocking pictures show smashed up cars in the car park which set alight last week
The airport said it had provided the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) with the registration details of 1,405 vehicles
A construction worker is pictured looking at the damage at Luton Airport
A 2021 Volkswagen SUV is pictured on its side at Luton Airport car park
The structural damage to the car park can be seen in this image, along with a burnt out car
In a statement, London Luton Airport apologised to customers with vehicles in the car park, which is a five-minute walk from the airport’s terminal.
It said: ‘We understand the distress this incident has caused for our car parking customers, and that many are still anxious for more detail.
‘We’re sorry that we have not been able to respond as quickly as we would have liked.’
Engineers warned that the car park, which was built in 2019, is structurally unsafe after it partially collapsed and it is now likely to be demolished.
It was revealed on Saturday that no-one can access the structure safely, making it impossible to properly assess the damage done.
Experts believe that if it had been fitted with an effective sprinkler system, the fire could have been stopped from spreading, leading only to localised damage.
A government source confirmed to MailOnline that they are ‘undertaking a major review of the fire safety guidance to the building regulations, including research on the fire resistance of car parks’.
Liz and Gary Blackmore, of Loughborough, were coming back from a five-day holiday to Portugal last night and had parked their Mercedes-AMG CLA Shooting Brake on the top floor of Luton’s new £20million parking structure.
The couple were on a flight back to Luton when they heard about the blaze from the captain, who had to make a last minute diversion to Gatwick.
The newly-built car park partially collapsed, Beds Fire and Rescue service confirmed
A huge fireball was pictured as cars went up in flames, with onlookers saying they heard loud explosions
Pictures show the roof of the structure caving in as flames ripped through cars
Experts believe that if it had been fitted with an effective sprinkler system, the fire could have been stopped from spreading, leading only to localised damage
Ms Blackmore, 57, told MailOnline: ‘We’re devastated. The car was less than a year old and my daughter has taken the other car so now we’re left with no car. We’re horrified.’
‘We parked our Mercedes on the top floor of the multi-story Car Park 2, short-stay, Luton, and we’d gone on holiday to Portugal.
‘We were returning yesterday evening and then suddenly the captain of the plane told us that we were diverting to Gatwick due to a large fire that has closed the airport. I saw it all on MailOnline and BBC about the fire.’
The fire at the airport came six years after a Land Rover went up in flames at Liverpool’s Echo Arena’s car park.
The blaze at Luton airport also comes six months after Land Rover recalled several models of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport to address issues that could potentially lead to fires.
In 2017 a Land Rover burst into flames within a multi-storey car park in Liverpool, creating a 1,000C inferno that incinerated up to 1,600 vehicles. The fire was hot enough to melt aluminium and engulfed seven floors of the parking structure at the Echo Arena on Liverpool’s waterfront.
And last year a mother-of-two told said she was forced to leap from a window when her Range Rover exploded. Sami Webster was stuck inside the car by the locked doors as plumes of smoke began seeping through the dashboard.
Ms Webster, 30, managed to squeeze through the window to escape after the vehicle burst into flames. In the process the mother suffered two broken ribs and smoke inhalation.