Fire service pictures show destruction caused by Liverpool car park blaze

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Photographs which show the destruction caused by a huge fire that destroyed up to 1,600 vehicles in a city centre car park have been released.

Rows of burnt-out cars are visible in the seven-storey building at the Liverpool Echo Arena which was engulfed in a 1,000C inferno on New Year's Eve after a Land Rover burst into flames.

The scene at a blaze at a multi-storey car park near to the Echo Arena on Liverpool's waterfron

The scene at a blaze at a multi-storey car park near to the Echo Arena on Liverpool's waterfron

The aftermath of the blaze was captured in the photographs released by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and shows the shells of the blackened vehicles.

A cordon remains in place around the car park which is expected to be demolished.

Motorists abandoned their cars and fled along with 4,000 people who were evacuated as the final event of the Liverpool International Horse Show was called off at the Echo Arena.

Residents living in apartments nearby and tourists staying in hotels were also forced to leave as 12 fire engines and aerial ladders were scrambled to the scene.

Former Liverpool and England international footballer Mark Wright and his wife Sue, who were visiting the horse show, were forced to abandon their vehicle and fled along with six children who were with them as they dialled 999 for help.

Mrs Wright helped ensure 80 horses being stabled on the ground floor of the car park were led to safety.

Merseyside chief fire officer Dan Stephens said the fire could have been stopped earlier if sprinklers had been fitted in the building, while Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, said the council will take advice on any "lessons to be learned" over the blaze at the local authority-owned building, which was constructed in 2008.

Initial investigations indicate an accidental fire within the Land Rover caused other cars to ignite.