Massive New Year's Eve Parking Garage Fire Destroys More Than 1,400 Cars in England
2017 just would not go quietly into that good night.
The promised carpocalypse came early in England on New Year's Eve when an estimated 1,400 cars were destroyed in a massive fire at a parking garage outside Liverpool's Echo Arena, the BBC reports.
The seven-story parking complex was nearly filled to capacity as thousands of people attended a popular horse show at the arena next door. A witness named Sue Wright reported that she and her husband came upon an old Land Rover with fire "just shooting out of the engine" in the garage around 5 p.m. after they parked and started walking toward the exit.
"We just left everything in the car—handbags, telephone, cash—and just went... It was clear it was ferocious and spreading," she told the BBC.
The concrete structure lacked a sprinkler system, and officials say the flames quickly leapt from car to car in something like a domino effect in the tightly-packed confines. By the time firefighters arrived, the garage was almost fully engulfed and the fire was spreading to a building next door. The heavy smoke forced the evacuation of several nearby apartment buildings, Echo Arena, and the horse stables that had been set up for the Liverpool International Horse Show.
The inferno raged for hours until firefighters were able to extinguish it early Monday morning, but every single car below the roof level was destroyed. Officials still don't know the full extent of the damage, as the fire was so intense that internal sections of the structure have collapsed. Miraculously, four dogs were found alive and unharmed in a heat-damaged car parked on the roof. People: Don't leave dogs in cars.
No one was injured in the blaze, but with 1,400 cars burned to a crisp, you can bet that the automotive world lost at least a few gems here. Among them, reports Mirror Online, is a beautiful red 1965 Ford Mustang that a local man named Paul Deacon had restored to use in weddings and charity events. He also told a reporter that he had planned on passing it down to his children, and that he decided to park in the garage at the last minute on Sunday night because he thought it would be safer than a spot on the street.
"The car turns heads and makes people smile, as it's such a iconic car you don't see everyday. It was so much more to us than just a car," he told Mirror Online.