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Luton Airport fire: Disabled man calls for action over car park safety

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller parked in Luton Airport's Terminal Car Park 2, which caught fire on 8 October

A man whose car will be destroyed when a fire-damaged Luton Airport car park is demolished called on politicians to act over car park safety concerns.

Andrew Miller, 57, of Northamptonshire, said it was "distressing" that his car could not be retrieved after the 10 October fire, despite appearing intact.

"Politicians need to get involved to reassure the public about the safety of open-structure car parks," he said.

A government spokesman said research on fire resistance was being carried out.

Mr Miller, who is disabled, had parked his specially adapted Citroen DS 3 on 8 October, and complained about the lack of support after the fire.

He said Luton Airport emailed him on Friday to say the car park would be "fully demolished", along with any cars parked on the ground to third levels.

Flames visible on the roof of an airport car park. Some passengers are visible standing on the airport roadway.
The huge fire at Luton Airport destroyed hundreds of cars, including Mr Miller's specially adapted Citroen

"It's distressing to know that my car, which appeared to be OK, is going to be destroyed when the car park is removed," said Mr Miller, who has a complex spinal condition.

"It's been an incredibly difficult few weeks."

The airport said at the time it was unlikely any of the 1,500 vehicles in the car park would be salvageable.

Mr Miller said he was also "very sad" that personal items were in the car, including the "glad rags" he and his husband wore to an awards evening before their flight to Ireland.

But he was "finally mobile again", after settling with his insurers and finding a specially adapted car three weeks after the fire.

Andrew Millers Citroen DS 3
Andrew Miller said his car had items inside that he would not be able to get back

Speaking of his concerns about such incidents, he pointed out that the Luton Airport incident had not been the first car park fire.

"There was a fire at Liverpool Arena in 2017 and I believe 1,000 cars were lost in that, and about 1,500 are going to be lost in this one," he said.

"There is a structural issue in the designs of these car parks and legislation is not ensuring their safety in terms of adequate fire prevention measures because I think if a sprinkler system had been in place at this car park, that fire could have been put out relatively quickly."

In a statement on Friday, Luton Airport's operations director Neil Thompson confirmed the car park would be fully demolished and the process to remove about 100 vehicles from the top deck was under way.

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: "Public safety is our absolute priority - which is why we're undertaking a major review of the fire safety guidance to the building regulations, including research on the fire resistance of car parks."

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