LONDON — A blaze at a six-story parking lot destroyed around 1,400 vehicles in the British city of Liverpool, authorities said.
Investigators believe an accidental fire within one vehicle caused others to ignite at around 5 p.m. local time (noon ET) on Sunday.
A total of 21 fire engines were dispatched to tackle the blaze at the parking lot near the Liverpool Echo Arena.
No one is believed to have been seriously injured in the incident but the blaze prompted the nearby buildings to be evacuated. A temporary shelter was then open for those displaced by the fire.
Motorist Kerry Matthews, who was visiting Liverpool and had parked at the 1,600-capacity site, told the BBC that one firefighter told him to “go and have a couple of drinks to celebrate New Year because you’re not going to get your car back.”
Twitter user Mike Quek described hearing “lots of explosions” as car windows imploded.
Driving into #liverpool#arena carpark and told to evacuate as car was on fire. Horses on ground floor. Hopefully everyone is ok. Lots of explosions coming from car park still #LiverpoolInternationalHorseShow#echoarenapic.twitter.com/brn2wXFO9V
— Mike Quek (@Mikequek) 31 December 2017
An international horse show, which had been scheduled to take place at the arena, was canceled but organizers said that all of the animals involved in the event were safe.
The Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said that two dogs had been rescued from a vehicle.
Mayor Joe Anderson thanked those who had offered to help, adding: “The people of Liverpool never let us down with their generosity and everyone has now been accommodated or given a lift.”