| 04.01,18. 01:20 AM |
Liverpool car park fire destroys more than 1,000 vehicles, photos reveal aftermath
Photo: The Mayor suggested the fire could have been contained if more fire services had been available. (Supplied: Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service)
Photo: Authorities said every vehicle in the 1,600-capacity car park was destroyed. (Supplied: Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service)
UK police have released eerie images of a Liverpool car park that was engulfed by a massive fire on New Year's Eve, destroying more than 1,000 vehicles.
Merseyside Police said all cars left in the 1,600-capacity car park were destroyed and the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson put the number at "upward of 1,000".
Nearby residents, who were told to keep indoors to avoid the thick black smoke that billowed from the complex, reported hearing loud bangs as cars exploded up to 10 hours after the fire started.
The multi-storey car park is located next to the city's Echo Arena which was hosting the Liverpool International Horse Show at the time.
Horses were led out of a building as the fire engulfed the car park.
Mr Anderson said no people or animals were injured in the blaze.
Lucia Thomas said she was exiting the car park with her daughter when other drivers stopped and abandoned their vehicles.
The pair fled their vehicle, which she said was most likely burned in the blaze.
"I was optimistic they would get it under control or contain it on one level, but it just spread," Ms Thomas said.
The Mayor thanked emergency crews for their efforts but used the fire to highlight recent budget cuts to fire services.
He suggested the blaze could have been contained had more fire engines and firefighters been available to attend the scene.
Mr Anderson said two fire crews first attended the fire, but two years ago eight fire engines would have responded.
About 300 officers and 12 fire engines across four local fire stations were lost to cuts in recent years, he said.
"It's on such occasions when the reality of budget cuts becomes all too apparent," Mr Anderson said in a letter to the Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd.