Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has initiated an investigation into the cause of the Liverpool Waterfront car park fire and the response to the incident, saying in a statement: “We are dealing with a freak event.”
A rapidly spreading fire broke out at the multi-storey car park on New Year’s Eve, destroying almost all of the 1,305 cars parked in the facility.
The city council now has control of the car park and is in the process of securing the site and removing loose material from the building. Hoardings are set to go up around the area this weekend.
According to the council, initial examinations show that due to the condition of the floors, it is doubtful the building can be saved. The assessment process is likely to take at least several weeks.
Removing the 1,305 vehicles inside is also estimated to take many weeks, “as most were entirely incinerated”.
Anderson said: “We are still in the process of trying to make the site safe so that structural engineers can being the process of analysing the extent of the damage.
“Frankly, it’s likely that the car park will have to be demolished as the fabric of the building has been extensively damaged. To put this in perspective, one of the cars of the third floor has actually crashed through to the floor below.
“So it’s not safe yet even to enter the building and we cannot have anyone risking their lives trying to do so, especially with the strong winds we’re currently experiencing.
“We will do everything we can to try and recover any vehicles and possessions that are still viable, but everyone needs to understand that the car park was an inferno and the vast majority of cars were completely incinerated.
“We are dealing with a freak event and people who have worked in this field for a lifetime have never known anything like it.”
Liverpool Waterfront Car Park is on the ACC Liverpool campus, next to the BT Convention Centre, Echo Arena, Exhibition Centre and Pullman hotel.
The incident leaves ACC Liverpool and the car park’s owner, the city council, with a shortfall of 1,600 parking spaces. There is still surface parking available next to the building at Kings Dock, although planning consent was last month given to the development of a call centre for The Contact Company on the plot, which developer YPG has previously said it hoped to start building in the first half of this year.
ACC Liverpool has confirmed that its events programme will proceed as planned.