Merseyside police said: “Initial investigations indicate that an accidental fire within a vehicle caused other cars to ignite. We believe that all vehicles parked in the car park have been destroyed and advise owners to contact their insurance companies.”
No one has been seriously injured, the force said. It was also reported that no animals were hurt.
Six fire engines were initially in attendance and crews wearing breathing apparatus were tackling the fire, Merseyside fire and rescue service said. Firefighters were still trying the contain the blaze on Sunday night.
The area was evacuated along with some flats nearby due to smoke billowing from the blaze.
The four-day Liverpool international horse show had been due to finish with Sunday evening’s show. On the event’s Facebook page, its organisers said they had decided with “considerable regret” to cancel the show because of the fire. About 4,000 people were expected for the show.
At least two or three levels of the car park appeared well alight, with periodic explosions and flames shooting up the outside of the building.
Anderson later tweeted: “Anyone whose car was in the arena car park should go to the Galeria in the exhibition centre. Council and arena staff will help with getting home or emergency accommodation.” A reception centre has been set up nearby for people who are unable to get home.
Fire crews were first called to the blaze at 4.42pm and were on the scene eight minutes later. Merseyside police said nearby flats had been evacuated and advised the public to stay away from the area. Traffic restrictions were put in place.
A spokeswoman for the Echo Arena said: “We regret to announce that the Liverpool international horse show has been cancelled tonight due to a serious fire in the multistorey car park on site.
“All people and horses are safe and secure. We are working alongside the emergency services to ensure the fire is brought under control and to make the site safe as quickly as possible.”
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