Norwegian Airport Parking Garage Fire Torches Hundreds of Cars, Grounds Flights

The 3,000-car structure was said to be nearly full when flames started spreading from the ground floor.

via Getty Images

Hundreds of cars are believed to have been destroyed after flames engulfed a Norwegian airport parking garage on Tuesday afternoon.

Local authorities report that they were first notified of the blaze around 3:30 p.m. This is when they received a complaint of a car fire on the ground floor of a Stavanger Airport parking structure. The flames began to spread throughout the five-story garage, producing smoke so thick that flights were grounded until Wednesday morning while nearby hotels evacuated.

Several photos and videos of the incident have emerged, many of which show smoke pluming from the structure. Some are close enough to catch the sounds of sirens blaring, small explosions, and even a car alarm going off as a vehicle succumbed to the fire lapping at its sides.

Garage operator Avinor confirmed to various news sources that the 3,000-car garage was nearly full when the incident began. At least 300 vehicles are said to have been destroyed as parts of the building have reportedly collapsed due to the flames, though a final number has not been tallied at the time of writing. While total loss is unknown at this point, some outlets have estimated the cost to be in the tens of millions of dollars.

"It is unclear how and when it is possible to clarify which cars are damaged and are no longer 'drivable,'" wrote Avinor on its website. "It is unclear how and when it is possible to begin work on removing the cars that were not damaged. It is likely that it will take some time before these points can be clarified and car owners can get information."

It reportedly took more than six hours for 60-plus firefighters to contain the blaze as it spread across the garage given the severity of the incident and that the garage had no sprinkler system installed.

Identification efforts of the fire's source have been inconclusive thus far. Original reports indicated that the fire may have started in an electric vehicle; however, new information suggests it instead originated from an older diesel car that was parked in the garage.

Given that Norway has the largest concentration of electric cars per capita in the entire world, it's almost certain that both traditionally fueled and electric-powered cars were gobbled up by the flames. It's worth noting that although catastrophic garage fires aren't exclusive to EVs, battery fires can be especially hard to contain due to the volatility of lithium, a key component used in the chemical makeup of the cells, and the risk of a fire re-igniting after it is put out can be significant.

While the fire might be out as of Wednesday morning, the parking structure itself remains charred and partially collapsed. Fortunately for all, no injuries were reported and the airport has resumed normal travel schedules. For now, passengers and employees are being shuttled to and from the terminal given the damage to the garage.

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