Ocado warehouse fire disrupts grocery service

Online grocer Ocado has been forced to cancel thousands of orders following a fire at its automated warehouse in south-east London. The blaze at the company’s fulfilment centre in Erith was caused by a collision between three of the robots that operate at the high-tech site.

There were no reported injuries but around 800 staff were evacuated from the location as a result of the incident on Friday 16 July, which is the second major fire suffered by the business following the total loss of its Andover facility in 2019 following an electrical fault.

The Erith site handles up to 150,000 orders a week and Ocado admitted that the fire will cause some ongoing disruption to services. In a statement, it said: “The damage was limited to a small section of less than 1% of the grid having been successfully contained by our fire attenuation measures, many of which were implemented following our thorough fire safety review in 2019.

“While the incident has caused some short-term disruption to operations, the vast majority of customer orders are being fulfilled in other parts of the Ocado network and the focus now is for us to work hard to restore normal service at Erith as soon as possible. We thank customers whose orders are affected for their patience.”

Shares in the company initially fell by around 3% early on Monday before recovering.

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