Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
October 11, 2023


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Fire incidents

Luton Airport vehicle fire causes ‘structural collapse’ of car park

London’s Luton Airport suspended all flights until late in the afternoon on Wednesday 11 October after a multi-storey car park collapsed as a result of a vehicle fire.

Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service (BFRS) said the structure had suffered a “significant structural collapse”, with half of the car park “fully involved in the fire”.

No serious injuries have been reported.

The fire was brought under control, according to the Service, around 08:45, with the fire first starting 12 hours earlier, at 20:47 on Tuesday evening (10 October).

Crews worked through the night, with 15 rescue pumps, three aerial appliances and over 100 firefighters on the scene at one point.

BFRS believes the cause of the fire was accidental, which started in a diesel-powered vehicle on level three of the multi-storey car park. The fire spread rapidly, with hundreds of vehicles potentially damaged in a car park that holds up to 1,900.

Luton airport confirmed that the fire spread as a result of a car fire on X (formerly Twitter).

Fire service to recommend sprinklers for future redevelopment of the car park

Andy Hopkinson, Chief Fire Officer at BFRS, told members of the press that thankfully no members of the public were harmed.

After being asked about whether sprinklers were fitted in the car park, he said “not that I’m aware of”, and the fire service would recommend that sprinklers were fitted in any redevelopment of the car park.

The East of England Ambulance Service said that one airport worker and six firefighters were being treated for smoke inhalation.

Witnesses at the scene described the fire as spreading rapidly, with “loud explosions from cars going up in flames”.

London Luton Airport, the UK’s fifth busiest airport, suspended all flights until 15:00 on Wednesday 11 October, and advised passengers not to travel to the airport during the morning, with access remaining severely restricted.

This is an ongoing story. Further updates will be provided when available.


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Martin Fessey
Martin Fessey
October 12, 2023 1:57 pm

Having worked with several UK airports in the past, there was a clear ‘mantra’ regarding sprinklers ie only install them where legally required, where risk assessment shows business consequences of a fire are severe or if there are trade-off benefits eg at one project that they could avoid detectors in a big concourse that were prone to false alarms (ironically the sprinklers would have had minimal effect…) My guess is that this car park would not tick those boxes. Btw – from the video I’ve seen it looks from a distance that it was a Range Rover Sport which is… Read more »