April 21, 2018

Huge car-park blaze 'destroys 1400 vehicles'

13 January 2018, 01:43 | Lorenzo Hawkins

Vehicles burn during the blaze at a multi-storey car park at the Echo Arena on Liverpool's waterfront

Vehicles burn during the blaze at a multi-storey car park at the Echo Arena on Liverpool's waterfront

A huge fire that destroyed up to 1,600 vehicles in a Liverpool auto park could have been stopped if sprinklers had been fitted in the building, the area's chief fire officer said.

"We didn't know what to do basically because the vehicle was in the multi-storey. We were in our minibus and one of the kids shouted, 'there's a fire!'" My handbag was in it, our cards, cash, everything.

Stuart, who jointly runs a livery yard, explained: "We arrived early and went to a little restaurant for tea".

Witnesses said cars seemed to explode every couple of seconds when the fire was at its peak. Please avoid the area as many road closures are in place nearby.

"The flames and the smoke was unbelievable", said 44-year-old Kevin Booth from Manchester who was visiting the venue with his family for the horse show.

"People were saying that they would just wait and get their cars back. You don't expect to see that in front of you".

Twitter user Mike Quek described hearing "lots of explosions" as auto windows imploded.

The auto park has a capacity of 1,600 cars, and 1,400 vehicles were estimated to be parked at the time of the blaze, which is believed to be accidental. We were told all the cars were destroyed.

The auto park was at capacity as the Liverpool International Horse Show was about to kick off shortly after the fire broke out and as all vehicles were affected, many were left stranded in the city as the emergency services from across the North West brought the situation under control.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson wrote on Twitter that "everyone was safe and no animals were hurt".

Nobody has been seriously injured in the blaze, the local Merseyside Police said, while all horses are accounted for. The professionalism in the public services is something to admire & be inspired by at critical times like this.

Some 1400 vehicles were inside the structure when the blaze started on Sunday afternoon (Monday morning NZT).

Crews were first called at 4.42pm and were on scene eight minutes later.

Horses, which were being held inside containers on the first floor of the vehicle park, were also evacuated.

'We will have a decision by 19.00 hours. The police advised everyone to clear the area, stay indoors and keep all windows and ventilation systems closed and off.

The International Horse Show has been cancelled, and hundreds of people are now stranded in Liverpool.

She described how the horses were brought into the arena to keep them safe, including some that had been safely removed from the ground floor of the vehicle park.

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