AN evacuation had to be carried out at Liverpool International Horse Show this evening (Sunday), when fire broke out in the nearby multi-storey car park.
It’s believed that one car went on fire but that quickly spread to nearby vehicles with early reports indicating that as many as 10 vehicles were engulfed in a mass blaze which dominated one level.
Early reports indicate there were no injuries to either people or horses at the show which was under way at the Echo Arena since December 29th and was due to end tonight, New Year’s Eve, with the ringing in of the New Year.
At approximately 6pm this evening, reports started to filter through of a fire in the car park and as the blaze worsened, the decision was quickly taken to abandon the evening performances and evacuate all people and horses on safety grounds.
"On one level of the car park, a very serious fire has broken out. It’s quite a huge blaze. "
A major plan swung into action at the venue to get all people and horses to safety as the emergency services responded in force to the inferno.
The four-star show was crowded at the time of the incident with the evening’s packed programme of show jumping and entertainment set to thrill New Year’s Eve spectators.
The press centre was also evacuated with Tadhg Ryan of Bit Media, who was covering the show, describing the scene: “The multi-storey car park is about 60 metres from the arena itself. The stables are underneath the car park and the car levels are above that.
"On one level of the car park, a very serious fire has broken out. It’s quite a huge blaze. At first, I didn’t think it was that bad, however, it has spread to other cars and one level is ablaze. There is a sea of flashing blue lights and sirens as you can imagine responding to it.
Emergency services at the scene of the fire close to the Liverpool Horse Show
“At first, the horses were all gathered together in the Arena itself for safety and now they are all being evacuated out of the show grounds. There is an appeal gone out on social media for people who can offer stabling and overnight accommodation.
“As I speak (7.30pm), there is still people inside the arena, it’s been announced over the system that there is an evacuation due to a fire in the car park and people should not panic but make their way to the exits immediately. We are not aware of any injuries to either horses or people,” said Tadhg Ryan who reported he and colleagues were also out of harm’s way.
It’s expected that the emergency services will be on the scene well into the night, containing the fire and securing the scene.
Full report in Saturday’s The Irish Field