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Luton car park fire: Airport says it’s ‘unlikely any vehicles will be salvageable’ after blaze | UK News

Luton Airport has said it is “unlikely that any vehicles will be salvageable” after a massive fire caused one of its multi-storey car parks to partially collapse earlier this week.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service declared a major incident at 9.38pm on Tuesday and, at its peak, had 15 fire engines, three specialist aerial appliances and more than 100 firefighters at the scene.

Andrew Hopkinson, chief fire officer with the service, said as many as 1,500 vehicles were in the car park at the time – with up to 1,200 believed to be damaged.

The scene at Luton Airport after a fire ripped through level three of the airport's Terminal Car Park 2

Holidaymakers who left their cars at the airport say they have been “left in limbo” and have received “no help”.

In a statement, the airport said it is “unlikely that any vehicles in the car park will be salvageable” but this was “still in the process of being assessed”.

It 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.

An airport spokesperson said it recognised it has been an “extremely distressing” time for those affected and it was working with the Association of British Insurers to establish the possibility of safely retrieving any personal items from the vehicles.

The airport said the emergency services have handed back control of the site and it is working to make it safe.

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Moment fireball consumes Luton Airport car park

‘An extremely distressing time for all concerned’

A London Luton Airport spokesperson added: “We recognise this has been an extremely distressing time for all concerned and we would like to thank our customers for their ongoing patience and understanding while we work through the many complexities following this incident.

“Dealing with such a large volume of inquiries, while an investigation is ongoing, has naturally extended our response times.

“Our team have been tirelessly working around the clock to keep customers informed of developments.

“We also advise all customers affected to notify their insurance company as soon as possible.”

The scene at Luton Airport after a fire ripped through level three of the airport's Terminal Car Park 2, causing it to collapse. The airport, which was closed due to the incident, has since reopened following the fire which caused disruption for tens of thousands of passengers. Picture date: Thursday October 12, 2023.
The scene at Luton Airport after a fire ripped through level three of the airport's Terminal Car Park 2, causing it to collapse. The airport, which was closed due to the incident, has since reopened following the fire which caused disruption for tens of thousands of passengers. Picture date: Thursday October 12, 2023.

The statement continued: “We are working with the Association of British Insurers on behalf of the many insurance companies to establish whether it will be possible to safely retrieve any personal possessions and, if so, how this process may work.

“Until such time, it will not be possible to provide more detailed information or a specific timeline.

“We remain committed to transparency and resolution and will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds.”

The airport’s Dart rail transit system, which opened earlier this year, remains closed along with the car park.

The 10 railway bridges most often bashed by road vehicles revealed | UK News

The 10 most-bashed railway bridges in Britain have been revealed.

Network Rail said the bridges were hit by road vehicles at least 10 times in the year to the end of March.

Stonea Road bridge near Manea, Cambridgeshire, took first place, having been hit 33 times in 12 months.

It was followed by Lower Down’s Road bridge in Wimbledon, southwest London, with 18 strikes, and Harlaxton Road bridge in Grantham, Lincolnshire, with 17 strikes.

Bridges across Britain’s rail network were struck 1,833 times in 2021/22, according to Network Rail.

They cost the government-owned company nearly £12m in compensation payouts for delays.

The number of strikes rose 13% compared with the previous year, coinciding with an increase in traffic.

Network Rail is relaunching its “Wise Up, Size Up” campaign urging lorry drivers to check the height of their vehicles ahead of Black Friday and Christmas when parcel deliveries soar.

The bridge at Stuntey Road, Cambridgeshire, has been struck 12 times in the year to the end of March
Image:
The bridge at Stuntey Road, Cambridgeshire, has been struck 12 times in the year to the end of March

‘Serious safety issues’

The company’s chairman Sir Peter Hendy said: “Bridge bashers cause serious safety issues on the transport network for both road and rail users.

“Every incident can delay tens of thousands of passengers while we inspect the bridge and repair any damage – creating a huge cost from public funds.

“During this very busy time of year for deliveries, we urge operators and drivers to properly plan their routes, know the height of their vehicles and be vigilant for road signs showing the height of bridges.

“We will report those who don’t to the traffic commissioners, and they risk losing their licences and livelihoods.

“Network Rail always looks to recover the entire repair and delay costs from the driver and the operator.”

Stonea Road in Cambridgeshire is number one in Britain's 10 most-bashed railway bridges
Image:
Stonea Road in Cambridgeshire is number one in Britain’s 10 most-bashed railway bridges

Top 10 most-bashed bridges

The railway bridges struck the most in 2021/22 were:

1. Stonea Road, near Manea, Cambridgeshire – 33 strikes

2. Lower Down’s Road in Wimbledon, southwest London – 18 strikes

3. Harlaxton Road in Grantham, Lincolnshire – 17 strikes

4. Abbey Farm in Thetford, Norfolk – 15 strikes

5. Stuntney Road in Ely, Cambridgeshire – 12 strikes

6. Harefield Road bridge in West Ruislip, northwest London – 12 strikes

7. Station Road in Berkswell, West Midlands – 12 strikes

8. Station Road in Langley, Berkshire – 12 strikes

9. St John’s Street in Lichfield, Staffordshire – 11 strikes

10. Coddenham Road in Needham Market, Suffolk – 10 strikes