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Disruption for Ocado customers as it suffers second fire this year | Business News

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A fire at a major Ocado depot has caused disruption to its food deliveries just months after another of its sites was destroyed in a blaze.

London Fire Brigade said four fire engines and around 25 firefighters spent three hours bringing the flames under control at the warehouse in Erith, southeast London on Wednesday night.

Shares fell as much as 3% in early trading before partially recovering.

The online supermarket said the fire, which took hold in a waste skip just outside its customer fulfilment centre, had now been extinguished.

“Given the facility was evacuated, as required whenever a fire is reported, there was some disruption to picking and some customer orders have had to be cancelled,” Ocado said in a statement.

“We sincerely apologise to those customers affected for the inconvenience this causes.

“All customers will be offered a re-booking for tomorrow.”



More than 200 firefighters were called to a large blaze at an online supermarket Ocado's warehouse in Andover.



February 2019: Firefighters tackle blaze at Ocado warehouse

Ocado, which uses robots to move around groceries stored at its warehouses, said none of its material handling equipment was involved in the latest fire.

The fire brigade said a conveyor belt and external motor had been damaged by the blaze, but that the activation of a sprinkler had limited its spread.

Ocado was badly hit earlier this year by a fire that destroyed its depot in Andover, Hampshire, which resulted in 400 workers being made redundant and caused £110m worth of damage to property, equipment and stock as well as denting sales.

An Ocado van
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Ocado apologised to customers whose orders were cancelled

That helped tip the company to a £142.8m loss for the six months to the end of June.

With the Andover site being rebuilt, Ocado has shifted much of its warehouse capacity to Erith.

An investigation established that the Andover fire was caused by an electrical fault at a battery charging unit which caused the plastic lid on top of a grocery-carrying robot to catch alight.

The battery-charging units were not used at Ocado’s other fulfilment centres.

It has since made minor changes to equipment, including removing the plastic lids from robots and adding localised smoke detectors.

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