Luton airport fire
Firemen battle a fire at London's Luton Airport which caused a partial collapse of a parking structure. HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP

At around 21:35 on Tuesday 10 October, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue announced that more than 100 firefighters were tending to a huge blaze at Luton airport.

Firefighters from Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and London came together to tackle the blaze.

The rescue team also declared that 15 fire engines and three specialist aerial services were also at the scene when the fire was at its peak last night.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue said that 50 per cent of one of the four car parks at the airport was "fully involved in the fire" and inevitably resulted in a "significant structural collapse".

The collapse destroyed more than 1,500 vehicles in it at the time, according to the Chief Fire Officer at Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Andrew Hopkinson.

Hopkinson also added that when the huge team of firefighters arrived, they were met with a "severe and rapidly spreading fire" and the blaze had "ultimately spread to multiple floors".

One witness at the scene told reporters that car alarms and loud explosions were heard before the blaze travelled at an "incredible" pace and tore up the upper-floor car park.

Four of the firefighters and a member of the Luton airport staff were later taken to Luton and Dunstable Hospital, said the East England Ambulance Service.

Medical reports note that the patients were suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.

One member of the public also suffered minor injuries from the catastrophic incident and was discharged by medics at the scene.

All flights to and from Luton airport have been delayed until 15:00 today, Wednesday 11 October, with the fire service warning that although the team had "controlled and extinguished" the blaze, there will be "severe traffic delays".

One witness at the scene told reporters that the blaze travelled at an "incredible" pace and tore up the upper-floor car park.

Despite Luton airport saying that it hopes to "get the airport operational as soon as possible", Travel Expert Simon Calder said that he expects between 40,000 and 50,000 people would have been affected by the fire.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service also urged the public to steer clear from the area, due to crews and an aerial appliance remaining at the scene and investigations into the cause of the blaze being carried out.

At the start of the investigation into what started the fire, Hopkinson noted that the emergency department "don't believe it was an electric vehicle", later revealing that the cause was a diesel car.

The fire team also declared that they believed the situation was a complete accident, with Hopkinson stating that there was "no intelligence than to suggest it was anything other than an accidental fire".

The results of the initial investigation found that the fire had started in a vehicle that arrived shortly before the blaze spread – at around 21:00.

Another witness told reporters that he saw cars exploding "every few minutes", along with a "flame that shot across the car park like a flame thrower".

Hundreds of other witnesses said that they were stranded at Luton airport, with cars that had been destroyed in the fire, they claimed that they had no way to get home.

Passengers recalled that all of the hotels at Luton airport were fully booked, and they each felt like the airlines had simply abandoned them.

Soon after, the airline provider EasyJet, which has a base at Luton, issued a statement that apologised for any inconvenience.

Before advising their customers to check their flight status on Flight Tracker, EasyJet wrote: "We are doing all possible to minimise the impact on our customers, providing those on cancelled flights with options to rebook or receive a refund, as well as providing hotel accommodation and meals where required."