Fire service likely to be tackling Ocado blaze for days

UK

Firefighters work at the scene of the Ocado’s flagship robotic distribution centre in flames in Andover, Britain Feburary 5, 2019 in this still picture obtained from a social media video on February 6, 2019. Ringwood Fire Station/via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) – British online supermarket Ocado said on Thursday the fire service was expected to remain at its badly damaged complex in southern England for at least the next few days as they continue to bring the blaze under control.

Emergency services have been tackling the fire at the highly automated site full of robots in Andover since the early hours of Tuesday.

The centre had been providing about 10 percent of Ocado’s UK capacity and used the robotic technology that the firm is selling to retailers around the world.

“Since our last update (on Wednesday), the Fire Brigade has continued to work to bring the fire at Andover under control,” Ocado said.

It said that due to concerns over the presence of pressurised refrigerants at the site, the police conducted a limited evacuation of the immediate area on Wednesday evening.

The removal of those materials has now been completed however. The fire is no longer classified as a major incident and local residents and workers have been able to access the affected area as normal.

Ocado added that it was working to minimise disruption for customers by increasing capacity at its three other major UK facilities.

The fire also took a further toll on the group’s share price. Having said on Wednesday that the fire would hit its sales growth, the stock was down 7 percent at 1027 GMT.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton

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