LONDON: London’s Luton Airport has suspended all flights until Wednesday afternoon and asked passengers not to travel there after a “significant fire” caused the partial collapse of a parking structure.

“The safety of our passengers and staff remains our main priority. We have therefore taken the decision to suspend all flights until 12pm on Wednesday 11th October,” the airport said in a statement issued early Wednesday morning.

“Passengers are advised not to travel to the airport at this time, as access remains severely restricted,” it added.

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Five people, including four firefighters and an airport employee, were admitted to hospital, according to the local ambulance service.

Another person was treated on site.

The fire broke out around 9 pm (2000 GMT) in the airport’s newly built car park.

“A few minutes later most of the upper floor was alight, car alarms were going off with loud explosions from cars going up in flames,” Russell Taylor, 41, an account director from Scotland told British newswire PA.

“The speed in which the fire took hold was incredible.”

Footage broadcast on British television showed flames engulfing a multi-storey building near the airport.

The Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said its crew was working to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading to other nearby buildings and vehicles.

“One half of the structure is fully involved in fire and the building has suffered a significant structural collapse,” it wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“Local residents are advised to close windows and doors and avoid the area.”

About 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of central London, Luton is served by several budget carriers and is one of six major airports in the British capital.

It handled around 13 million passengers in 2022.

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