Fire at robotic warehouse hits United Kingdom online supermarket

EVACUATION Homes have been cleared after a massive fire at an Ocado warehouse

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) said "four of its firefighters had been treated for slight smoke inhalation" as they battled to bring the inferno under control.

Fire crews from neighbouring services were dispatched to provide support for what was a challenging and complex incident.

On Friday morning, the service said about 10 firefighters remained at the warehouse on Walworth Industrial Estate but at 16:00 GMT it said the incident had "come to an end" and the site had been "handed back to the owners". "Due to concerns over the presence of pressurised refrigerants on site, the police conducted a limited evacuation of the immediate area on Wednesday evening".

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Andy Bowers said: "We have a risk of a toxic release or a large cylinder explosion".

The fire was declared a major incident as it swept through the Ocado warehouse and locals were urged to keep their windows and doors shut due to the smoke. Although under control, it caused a collapsed roof and damaged all the robots and stock inside, firefighters said.

"As previously announced, there has been substantial damage to the Andover building and its contents".

"This is obviously a awful event and thankfully no one has been hurt, although some firefighters have been treated for smoke inhalation".

One local tweeted during the blaze: "Just streets away - the noise, heat, smell and light pouring from the Ocado warehouse is frighteningly real". An exclusion zone has been lifted but firefighters may take another few days to extinguish the blaze fully.

Ocado said it had been forced to cancel some customer orders because of the fire and it was "working hard to resume normal service as soon as possible". "Thank you. Stay safe".

Online grocer Ocado has suffered a seven per cent dive Thursday morning and suffered a fiver per cent drop Wednesday, following the fire at the firm's robotic warehouse in Andover.

The setback for Ocado, which has warned that sales will be hit as a result of the blaze, comes amid the firm's transformation plan to build robot-operated warehouses for retailers across the world.

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