LIVERPOOL, U.K. - A massive blaze engulfed a 1,600-capacity parking deck in Liverpool, U.K., destroying hundreds of vehicles.
Several people were forced to spend the New Year in temporary shelters at Kings Dock, even as firefighters arrived on scene to tackle the blaze.
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said in a statement, "Initial investigations indicate that an accidental fire within a vehicle caused other cars to ignite.”
While no one was believed to have been seriously injured, officials said that some surrounding buildings were evacuated as a precautionary measure.
Residents and local businesses were warned by fire services to keep doors and windows shut due to the smoke and people were advised to stay away from the area.
The fire was described as being ‘unbelievable’ by witnesses, who said that car windows could be heard exploding.
According to authorities, the Echo Arena which is located next to the car park on the waterfront had been hosting a four-day international horse show.
However, after the fire broke out, animals were evacuated from the venue and the final evening's events were cancelled.
Following the incident, organizers confirmed all horses were safe and the Aintree International Equestrian Center had opened its stables overnight for horses in need of accommodation.
A witness described the blaze and said, "The flames and the smoke was unbelievable. People were saying that they would just wait and get their cars back. I thought, 'Have you seen the fire? Are you joking?' It was frightening, we could hear the bangs of car windows exploding."
The Merseyside Police said on Monday morning that 21 fire engines were still battling the blaze, with the fire service adding that the fire is now contained to the car park.
The police added in a statement, “All vehicles parked in the car park have been destroyed.”
They also urged owners to contact their insurance companies.
On Monday morning, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said in an update, "We are likely to be engaged at the scene for several hours and further investigation will follow firefighting action.”
According to the Liverpool City Council, a reception center nearby was opened for anyone unable to get home or in need of temporary shelter.
The Liverpool International Horse show released a statement on Monday saying it had looked into rescheduling the event "but unfortunately this has not proven possible."
Meanwhile, the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson took to Twitter to express his gratitude to the community for their offers of assistance.
He said, “Thank you all so much for your offers of assistance absolutely brilliant response overwhelming, those caught up in the aftermath were so appreciative. Please stop now all sorted. #soproudofyou.”