Ocado customers fume as depot goes up in smoke

Around 100 firefighters tackled a major blaze at an Ocado and Morrisons depot, sparked after two robots collided. Thousands of orders had to be cancelled or delayed at the site in Erith[1], which processes 220,000 a week. Firefighters tackle a blaze at an Ocado and Morrisons depot in Erith

It’s thought the blaze was sparked when two robots used on a grid system to pack deliveries collided. The blaze at the site in Church Manorway is now under control, with firefighters remaining at the scene throughout the day damping down hot spots.

The building was evacuated and at its height 15 fire engines from the London Fire Brigade wee in attendance after being called at 12.42pm. There are no reports of any injuries.

The incident has meant the online food retailer has been forced to cancel orders and stop further bookings from being placed. Angry Ocado customers took to twitter this afternoon to vent their frustration after finding out their orders had been cancelled last minute due to the fire.

The scene at the warehouse Picture: UKNIP The scene at the warehouse Picture: UKNIPA crane is being use by firefighters at the scene. Photo: UKNIP A crane is being use by firefighters at the scene. Photo: UKNIP

One frustrated customer reacted on Twitter: “Well done Ocado. Cancelled our order moments before it was due.

My wife is 36 weeks pregnant and now no food.” While Peep Show actor Paul Clayton chimed in: “So well done Ocado.

55 minutes before our order is due you e mail to say you’re not delivering it.”

After being made aware of the fire, he added: “It might be good if they told me that then. Just getting a email saying we’re not delivering doesn’t cut it.”

Ocado apologised to affected customers online, tweeting: “We’re really sorry but due to major incident at our Erith CFC some of our orders have been cancelled. “Please be patient with us while we are managing this. Currently you will not be able to rebook, but more information will be provided via email and SMS.”

Ten fire engines and their crews have been sent to the scene.
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pPhoto: UKNIP Ten fire engines and their crews have been sent to the scene. Photo: UKNIPStaff have been evacuated.
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pPhoto: UKNIP Staff have been evacuated. Photo: UKNIP

The Erith site is spread over 36 acres with 3,500 robots running on its grid.

The cause of the fire is not known at this stage. Ocado was forced to shell out millions of pounds replacing one of its distribution centres in Andover, Hampshire in 2019 after a major blaze. An Ocado spokesman said: “This incident appears to involve the material handling equipment on the grid resulting in a fire and the evacuation of the building.

“While the scale of the damage is unclear, no one has been injured.

While we expect some disruption to operations, we will work to restore normal service as soon as possible.”

: All the latest news from Bexley and Bromley [2]

References

  1. ^ Erith (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  2. ^ : All the latest news from Bexley and Bromley (www.kentonline.co.uk)