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Spanish Grand Prix 2012 horror: 16 injured when fire broke out in Williams team’s garage

Spanish Grand Prix 2012 horror: 16 injured when fire broke out in Williams team’s garage

access_time May 14, 2012 chat_bubble_outline 2 comments
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By Associated Press

PUBLISHED: 16:03 EST, 13 May 2012 | UPDATED: 10:04 EST, 14 May 2012

The Spanish Grand Prix was thrown into chaos last night when 16 people were injured in a team garage blaze.

Flames took over the Williams pit stand just moments after Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado had taken the Barcelona title – in doing so scooping the first grand prix win for the British-based team in eight years.

One Williams employee was airlifted to Barcelona hospital with serious burn wounds while five others were taken to local hospital for smoke inhalation.

A further ten people were treated at the Catalunya Circuit for smoke inhalation before being released.

Smoke: The pit-lane is filled with black smoke following the fire which began in the Williams garage and left 16 people injured

Smoke: The pit-lane is filled with black smoke following the fire which began in the Williams garage and left 16 people injured

Flames: The fire breaks out at the back of the Williams team garage (left). The incident is believed to have been caused by a Kers unit from Bruno Senna’s car (right)

Hero: Winning driver Pastor Maldonado carries his injured cousin to safety

Hero: Winning driver Pastor Maldonado carries his injured cousin to safety

Observing: The smoke quickly engulfed the Williams team garage at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix

Struggle: Williams team mechanics help a colleague as they leaves the garage destroyed by the fire at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix

Struggle: Williams team mechanics help a colleague as they leaves the garage destroyed by the fire at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix

The fire is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault with Maldonado’s teammate Bruno Senna’s car, which was in the garage having crashed earlier in the race.

Flames spread quickly through the garage, sending thick plumes of black smoke out onto the circuit. Williams’ wheelchair-bound founder Sir Frank Williams – celebrating his 70th birthday – had to be lifted to safety shortly after giving his victory speech.

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Maldonado also had to play hero, giving his cousin Manuel – whose right leg was in a cast – a piggy back away from the flames.

Mechanics and circuit firefighters were quickly on the scene to put out the fire with an ambulance on the scene treating one person for what appeared to be smoke inhalation.

Shock: Workers look on in horror as the blaze starts to engulf the Williams garage

Shock: Workers look on in horror as the blaze starts to engulf the Williams garage

Surprise: Racing crews help an injured colleague who was hit by the blaze (left) as a Williams crew member walks out of their garage

Tackling the flames: Williams mechanics are joined by counterparts at Force India as they try to put out the fire

Tackling the flames: Williams mechanics are joined by counterparts at Force India as they try to put out the fire

Chaos: Mercedes mechanics helped their Williams’ colleagues put out the fire which overshadowed the Grand Prix

Concern: Sir Frank Williams is taken to safer surroundings following the pit-lane fire

Concern: Sir Frank Williams is taken to safer surroundings following the pit-lane fire

A Williams team statement reads: ‘After today’s Spanish Grand Prix a fire occurred in the team’s garage which originated from the fuel area. Four team personnel were injured in the incident and subsequently taken to the medical centre.

‘Three are now receiving treatment at local hospitals for their injuries, while the fourth has been released. The team will monitor their condition and ensure they receive the best possible care.

‘The team, the fire services and the police are working together to determine the root cause of the fire. The Williams F1 Team would like to thank all of the teams and the FIA for their support in today’s incident.’

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F1 team Caterham said in a statement that four team employees were among those taken to the Catalunya Circuit medical center to be examined, one with a minor hand injury and three with respiratory issues.

Salvaged: Racing team crews carry the front end of a car after a fire in the Williams racing pit stand

BSalvaged: Racing team crews carry the front end of a car after a fire in the Williams racing pit stand

Battling: Racing team crews use a fire hose to try and extinguish the blaze (left) as Bruno Senna looks on as a fire rips through the Williams garage (right)

Aftermath: A Williams mechanic looks on at the area hit by the fire

Aftermath: A Williams mechanic looks on at the area hit by the fire

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