Printers evacuated following Ocado warehouse fire

By Barney Cox, Thursday 07 February 2019

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Three print firms were evacuated on Wednesday afternoon due to the Ocado warehouse fire in Andover.

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Up to 200 firefighters attended the scene. Image: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, Twitter

Andover Printing, Anton Visual Communications and Scratch Print Products were among the businesses and residents inside the 500m cordon implemented around the site, who were asked to leave.

The blaze, which had previously been under control, flared up again yesterday afternoon (6 February), leading to concerns it could spread and cause an explosion. This led the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service to declare it a major incident and implement the cordon around the site on the Walworth industrial estate in Andover.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service group manager Nigel Cooper said: “We are pleased to have been able to safely remove the chemicals from the site throughout the night and into the early hours of this morning, meaning we can lift the evacuation zone.

“It is thanks to the efforts of all our teams, on the ground and elsewhere, that we managed to contain the incident when it unexpectedly escalated late yesterday afternoon.”

The evacuation order was lifted this morning, allowing businesses to re-open.

None of the firms were severely impacted by the evacuation, although they were preparing contingency plans in case the cordon remained in place today.

Anton Visual's factory on Central Way is only three buildings away from the Ocado warehouse. Managing director Edward Fennell was unavailable for comment at the time of writing but staff confirmed the firm’s proximity and added that it had been contacted by its suppliers to see if deliveries could be made.

“We weren’t massively affected,” said Scratch Print Products managing director Neil Scratchley. “If we’d been out of action today it would have had an impact.”

Andrew Neal, a director at Andover Printing, also said that the impact had been minimal but would have affected jobs due today if the cordon hadn’t been lifted.

Up to 200 firefighters attended the scene with crews from Oxfordshire, Dorset & Wiltshire, Royal Berkshire and Hertfordshire assisting Hampshire.

The fire first started in the early hours of Tuesday morning at the warehouse, which is one of four of Ocado’s robot operated sites across the UK.

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