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Fire at robotic warehouse hits United Kingdom online supermarket

10 February 2019

The removal of those materials has now been completed and the fire is no longer classified as a major incident, so local residents and workers have been able to access the affected area as normal. The exclusion zone was lifted on Thursday morning.

"We apologise to all those affected by this incident and are very thankful to the people of Andover for their understanding and support during this hard period".

According to the spokesperson, there has been substantial damage to the Andover building and its contents.

The full financial impact of the inferno is not yet known, but Ocado has increased capacity at its three other main United Kingdom sites in a bid to avoid disruption for customers.

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The cause has not been determined but Ocado has been forced to cancel thousands of customer orders.

Firefighters were called to the Ocado warehouse in the early morning on 5 February to tackle the blaze.

Deputy chief fire officer Andy Bowers said the evacuation of Walworth Industrial Estate in Hampshire was a precaution to keep the public safe.

A fire service spokeswoman said about 20 families were at a rest centre set up in Harrow Way Community School, Andover, after being evacuated from their homes.

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Four firefighters were treated for minor smoke inhalation, but no Ocado staff were injured.

Ocado has said the fire started in a corner of the grid of groceries above which its robots assemble orders.

One local resident tweeted during the blaze: "Just streets away - the noise, heat, smell and light pouring from the Ocado warehouse is frighteningly real". These are the times when we take our hats off to the firefighters (and other experts) who tackle such scenes. Makes you truly appreciate the courageous men and women of the Fire Service! The company said it has comprehensive insurance for the property, stock and equipment, as well as for business-interruption losses.

One of Ocado Group Plc's largest United Kingdom warehouses is expected to be completely destroyed by a fire, constraining the online grocer's ability to meet customer demand and cutting sales growth.

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More than 30,000 orders - 10% of Ocado's capacity - are processed by robots at the Andover warehouse each week, but Ocado has not yet given any detail about what the impact will be to customers.

Fire at robotic warehouse hits United Kingdom online supermarket