Luton Airport fireLuton Airport fire


Investigation finds Luton airport car park blaze was started accidentally by a diesel vehicle

  • Widespread internet speculation claimed the fire was started by an electric or hybrid vehicle
  • Bedfordshire Police and Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service now conclude the cause was a diesel
  • It is believed the fire was started by an electrical fault while the car was moving
  • The full report will be published this summer

Time 6:39 am, March 23, 2024

A new report has found last October’s huge blaze inside a multi-storey car park at Luton Airport started by accident.

It was thought at the time that an electric or hybrid vehicle had been the cause of the fire, which destroyed more than 1,400 cars and much of the building structure, but the report has now confirmed a diesel vehicle was the source.

An investigation by Bedfordshire Police and Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service into the fire discovered that ‘all evidence’ pointed towards the cause most probably ‘being an electrical fault or component failure’ in the engine bay while the vehicle was moving.

The report concluded that the car had a diesel engine, and stated that ‘it was not a mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle’, quashing widespread internet claims that the blaze was started by a battery-powered model.

The fire and rescue service said in a statement that the cause was accidental.

The report states that the owner tried to stop the fire but it spread to other components and then to other parked vehicles.

The massive fire took place on October 10 and was declared a major incident, with over 100 firefighters tackling it at its height. The flames also spread across multiple floors of the car park, causing a partial collapse of the structure.

The incident saw aircraft grounded until the next day.

At the time, Luton Airport said it had provided the Motor Insurers’ Bureau with the registration details of 1,405 vehicles and, along with parking provider APCOA, had responded to almost 16,500 customer queries since the fire.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service says that a full incident report is expected to be published during the summer.

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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