Home NEWS Fire in Liverpool: Blaze rips through car park near International Horse Show | UK | News

Fire in Liverpool: Blaze rips through car park near International Horse Show | UK | News

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The 1,000 degress inferno broke out inside a multi-storey car park next to the Liverpool Echo Arena, and was believed to have been started when a Land Rover burst into flames.

Up to 1,600 cars in the multi-storey car park are believed to have been destroyed in the fire.

Images from the scene showed as the blaze spread from the third floors while thick black smoke billowed into the sky – seen as far away as Wirral.

Witnesses said loud explosions could be heard coming from the car park as the building was overwhelmed by the huge flames.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said: “Firefighters are attending a fire at a multi-storey car park at Kings Dock, in Liverpool.

“Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service was called at 4.42pm and crews were on the scene at 4.50pm.

“Six fire engines are in attendance and crews, wearing breathing apparatus, are tackling the fire using a 52 mil hose.”

The day session of the International Horse Show had already finished at the arena, and the evening show was due to commence again at 7.30pm.

Fire at Liverpool Echo Arena car parkPA

The fire broke out at a Liverpool Echo Arena car park

However the Arena later confirmed the show was cancelled due to the fire, as Mersey Fire continue to fight the flames at the Kings Dock multi-storey car park.

James Morris, from Formby, told the Liverpool Echo he was watching the Horse Show at the venue when the announcer said there was fire in the car park next door.

He added: “I think it was a car fire on the top floor. The horses, which were on a lower level of the car park, were then all brought in to the arena. All the horses were safe.

“The announcer then advised us all to go and get a coffee or do some shopping while emergency services put out the fire. I think most people decided to go home.”

Car park in Liverpool on firePA

Up to 1,600 cars in the multi-storey car park are believed to have been destroyed

Damage at the multi storey car park near the Echo Arena in Liverpool,PA

Damage at the multi storey car park near the Echo Arena in Liverpool


I could hear loud bangs. The cars were still there and we had to leave the car. There was police on the scene, horses in the road, lots of banging and smoke.

Witness


Motorists abandoned their cars and fled along with 4,000 people as horses were also rescued from their stabling close to the car park as the fire broke out.

Residents living in apartments nearby and tourists staying in hotels were also forced to leave as 12 fire engines and aerial ladders were scrambled to the scene at around 4.42pm on New Year’s Eve.

Former Liverpool and England international footballer Mark Wright and his wife, Sue, who were visiting the horse show, were forced to abandon their vehicle and fled along with six children who were with them as they dialled 999 for help.

Mrs Wright helped ensure 80 horses being stabled on the ground floor of the car park were led to safety.

The couple, along with others at the scene, questioned how the fire was able spread so quickly.

Horse Show - car park fireTWITTER/ @AbbyWeaver92

Witnesses say they have been stranded as firefighters tackle the blaze

Mr Stephens, speaking from the scene, said the temperature of the fire was between 800C and 1,000C, and although crews attended within eight minutes of the alarm, the flames spread so quickly they were not able to control the blaze.

He said: “One thing is for certain – had the building been sprinklered there is every chance that would have suppressed the fire sufficiently then for us to be able to go in and extinguish the fire without it spreading in the way that it did.

“I believe a sprinkler system would certainly have suppressed the fire, it would definitely have limited the spread and given us a much better opportunity to put the fire out before it spread to the extent it did.

“Given the intensity of the fire, given some of the fire incidents we’ve seen over the past 12 months, I think the fact that no-one was injured here and there’s been no fatalities… I think that’s a very good outcome indeed.”

Car park on fire in LiverpoolPA

The inferno incinerated up to 1,600 vehicles

Witness Alison Richardson told the Liverpool Echo there was a large amount of smoke billowing from the car park area and that people had been evacuated from the area.

She said: “I think the fire is in the car park. Some people have been saying that there are horse boxes in the car park, with animals in.”

Another said: “I could hear loud bangs. The cars were still there and we had to leave the car.

“There was police on the scene, horses in the road, lots of banging and smoke. I can’t get to the car so having to walk to Lime Street for the train.”

Others took to social media to describe the chaos near the car park, where it is believed around 150 cards were parked at the time.

The fire dramatically spread to all floors as firefighters frantically tried to contain the blaze.

Smoke billows above the Liverpool car parkPA

Smoke billows above the Liverpool car park

Olly Harrison tweeted: “Chaos in Liverpool by the echo arena as there is a car on fire in multi-story car park.”

Simon Crabtree said: “We could smell smoke as we were leaving Liverpool One… it smelt like fireworks.”

It is believed the inferno could have been stopped if sprinklers had been fitted in the building, a chief fire officer said.

Dan Stephens, of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS), said such a system would have given crews a “much better” chance of stopping the fire, which went on to engulf seven floors of the multi-storey car park at the Echo Arena on Liverpool’s waterfront after a Land Rover burst into flames.

Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, said the council will take advice on any “lessons to be learned” over the blaze at the local authority-owned building, which was constructed in 2008.

PA

The blaze was started by a Land Rover

He said: “If the chief fire officer or anybody else wants to make that comment we will listen to it and look at what we can do.

“Bottom line is, this is something we will look at – we will take his advice and other people’s advice, and if there’s things we can do to make the car parks more safer then that is exactly what we will do. We won’t bury our heads in the sand. I have heard conflicting advice.

“We will listen, we’ll take advice from the chief fire officer, we’ll look at what we do with this car park and what we do with our car parks if the advice is we should have sprinkler systems.

“There’s clearly lessons to be learned from it and that’s what we will do.”

Tweeting during the incident, he gave “big praise” to the firefighters who bravely tackled the blaze.

Fire crews were able to protect apartments on two sides of the car park, the hotels and the Arena building, as well as assisting with the evacuation of the horses.

Two dogs were also rescued from cars on the second floor, and this morning four more dogs were rescued from cars on the seventh floor.

Horses evacuated to liverpool horse showTWITTER/ @AbbyWeaver92

Horses were evacuated from their stabling near the car park

The Association of British Insurers said any driver whose vehicle has been damaged in the fire should get in touch with their insurance company.

A spokesman said: “Insurers’ emergency claim lines operate 365 days a year, so anyone who has been affected by this fire in Liverpool should pick up the phone to their insurer.

“Insurance is there to cover the costs of just this type of incident, and in 2016 motor insurers paid out more than £33 million every single day.”

Liverpool City Council said it had helped around 10 people who had been stranded by the fire overnight through its temporary shelter, and arranged for their onward travel.

A spokesman said: “Our advice now is for people whose cars were inside to contact their insurance company to make a claim, quoting Merseyside Police log 650 on 31/12/17.”

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson also thanked several hotels and their staff for “helping so many people”, and wrote: “And over 200 people called my office offering lifts for people. As always, Liverpool proves it’s the kindest city in the world. £soproud.”



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