Following the fire which broke out at Liverpool Waterfront Car Park on New Year’s Eve, the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has initiated an investigation into the circumstances around the cause of the fire and the response to the incident. This will include an overview of all city council procedures as part of the wider multi-agency response.
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. Once this has taken place a thorough risk assessment will be carried out, after which structural engineers can get onsite to evaluate the extent of the damage. However, initial examinations show that due to the condition of the floors, it is doubtful the building can be saved. This process is likely to take at least several weeks.
Those people who had a vehicle in the car park at the time of the fire should continue to liaise with their insurance company, using the incident number 33394 and stating the date of the fire 31 December 2017.
Please note, the car park is NOT accessible.
Mayor Anderson said: “This was an unprecedented incident and I would firstly like to commend the actions of the emergency services and our partners across the city who worked together on an already incredibly busy evening to deal with the fire.
“My heart goes out to all those people who have lost property as a result of the fire and I have contacted the Association of British Insurers to urge them to deal with people’s claims as quickly as possible.
“The aftermath shows the true, devastating scale of the fire, and in these early stages it’s our priority to make sure the car park and the surrounding areas are safe. In the meantime, teams are working hard to find temporary car parking measures.
“I have received calls from people asking to collect belongings from vehicles they believe may not have been damaged in the fire. Unfortunately, until we can ensure the structure is safe, no one is allowed access.
“As is the case with all major emergencies, we will carry out an investigation looking into the circumstances around the fire and the work undertaken by ourselves and other agencies during and after the fire. I have written to the Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service to ask whether national building regulations should now be reviewed in relation to installing sprinklers in car parks.”
Liverpool Waterfront Car Park is on the ACC Liverpool campus and adjacent to BT Convention Centre, Echo Arena, Exhibition Centre Liverpool and Pullman Liverpool hotel.
ACC Liverpool has confirmed that its events programme will proceed as planned. Fertility 2018, Kia and Lyreco conferences will go ahead, along with events such as Fast and Furious Live at Echo Arena on January 11 and 12 followed by Celebrating Sgt Pepper: Live on January 13.
Work is also being undertaken to identify or create alternative parking provision in the area.
Bob Prattey, chief executive of The ACC Liverpool Group, said: “The Liverpool Waterfront Car Park is closed until further notice and so as part of our contingency plans we are looking at alternative parking arrangements for forthcoming events. We will continue to communicate with all our clients who are organising forthcoming conferences, exhibitions and entertainment events as well as customers and delegates. We ask for everyone’s patience and understanding while we work through these plans.
“We would like to once again apologise to customers who were due to attend the evening performance of the Liverpool International Horse Show, which was cancelled as a result of the fire, as well as those people whose vehicles were in the car park and who have been affected by this terrible situation.
“We would like to again express our thanks to the emergency services for their tremendous efforts.”
Merseyside Police reiterated the thank-you with Chief Inspector Chris Hitchell saying: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our police officers and staff, emergency service colleagues and partner agencies who have worked together over the past few days to manage and control this incident.
“I would also like to thank neighbouring businesses and the wider public for their patience while this incident was dealt with and remind drivers affected by the incident to contact their insurance companies directly.”
Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens from Merseyside Fire & Rescue said: “Firefighters worked tirelessly to contain the fire and prevent it spreading to residential flats and hotels in the immediate vicinity and to evacuate the area of people and animals.
“At the height of the fire, 12 fire engines were engaged in firefighting along with additional support vehicles including three combined platform ladders. Mutual assistance was provided from Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Lancashire through additional High Volume Pumps and fire engines.
“The intensity of the fire caused a partial collapse within the building.
“This incident received an effective multi-agency response from all of the emergency services, Liverpool City Council and neighbouring authorities, the Environment Agency, Public Health England, NHS England and the Red Cross.”
All partners would also like to express gratitude towards the surrounding hotels and businesses who provided great assistance with the displacement of people.