UP to 1,300 vehicles were destroyed in a raging fire which caused the Liverpool International Horse Show at the Echo Arena to be evacuated on Sunday evening, New Year's Eve.
The blaze broke out in the upper levels of the adjoining multi-storey car park, with the stabling area on the ground floor level. All horses and people were safely evacuated and Aintree Racecourse opened up their stables for those who could not get home.
While the carpark is not believed to be in danger of collapsing, it is unlikely it will be saved.
The stable area was very badly damaged in the blaze and was a foot under water on Monday afternoon, when the rescue services, who worked hard to retrieve as much tack and equipment as possible, were evacuated due to parts of the ceiling caving in.
Show jumper Amanda Derbyshire with her horse in the main arena after the fire broke out near the stables (Photo: Peter Putman)
Speaking to Tadhg Ryan of Bit-Media after his horses had been evacuated, Galway show jumper Sven Hadley said the show officials did an “unbelievable job to keep it all under control”.
However, President of the Liverpool International Horse Show, Nina Barbour, has said the horse show will return to the venue next December.
In a statement on Monday, she said: "I would like to express my immense thanks and gratitude to the emergency services, the Echo Arena staff, riders, grooms and support staff, the general public and the City of Liverpool following Sunday night's events.
"The understanding of everybody who were preparing to celebrate New Years' Eve and were left in Liverpool with no transport was nothing short of remarkable, and the offers of help and support from people - they ran into the hundreds - for anyone who needed assistance will never be forgotten.
"It was with considerable regret that last night's final session of the show had to be cancelled due to a serious fire in a multi-storey car park near to the Echo Arena, and on advice from the emergency services, who worked tirelessly all night to contain and extinguish the fire.
"My thoughts are also with those who have lost their vehicles and possessions as a result of the fire.
"All people and horses are safe and secure, and I thank spectators, riders and support teams for their understanding and co-operation during what was a difficult situation.
"I am very proud of our own teams who pulled together in the most demanding of circumstances, and managed to quickly and calmly evacuate all horses from the venue in a safe and controlled manner.
"We have worked very closely with the Echo Arena team over the last three years - their support and hard work has been integral to the event's success to date, and our thoughts are with them, and the city of Liverpool.
"We are not going to let go of what we achieved in the first five sessions of the show, and we will be back to do it again next December."
The aftermath of a fire in the multi-story car park beside the Echo Arena in Liverpool, where at least 1,300 vehicles were destroyed (Photo: Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service)