Published: 09:19, 19 July 2021
| Updated: 15:21, 19 July 2021
An online grocer has warned of some further disruption after thousands of orders were cancelled due to a warehouse blaze sparked by three colliding robots.
Firefighters at the scene of a major Ocado warehouse blaze on Friday
It's thought the blaze started when three robots, used on an automated grid system to pack deliveries, collided.
The blaze at its packing facility in Church Manorway was under control within several hours of the alarm being raised but firefighters remained at the scene the next day to dampen down remaining hot spots.
Around 800 staff had to be evacuated and at its height 15 fire engines from the London Fire Brigade were in attendance. There are no reports of any injuries.
It meant thousands of orders had to be cancelled with some reacting furiously on social while others Tweeted their support.
Ocado apologised for the disruption and posted an update to customers on Saturday, warning of "some disruption to operations" with operations due to recommence later this week.
A spokesman for the group said: "The incident at our Erith CFC on Friday appears to have been caused by the collision of three bots on the grid resulting in a fire.
"The correct protocols were successfully implemented including the evacuation of the building, the activation of the sprinkler system and the presence of the London Fire Brigade.
"No one has been injured and all colleagues on site are safe. The damage is limited to a small section of less than 1% of the grid having been contained by planned fire attenuation measures.
"Aside from some residual smoke smell, the vast majority of the CFC is in good condition."
The online grocer said that it is working to restore normal service as soon as possible.
"We expect the facility to begin operating within the coming week and thank customers whose orders are affected for their patience," it said.
"We would like to also thank the London Fire Brigade and all the other emergency services for their hard work and professionalism in dealing with this incident."
Crews working to control the blaze said it was "deep seated" and a "challenging operation".
Station Commander Steve Vydelingum said: "Firefighters worked hard in hot and arduous conditions inside the warehouse.
"Around 800 staff evacuated before the Brigade arrived."
Ocados' Erith site processes 220,000 orders a week.
In 2019 the online retailer was forced to shell out millions of pounds replacing one of its distribution centres in Andover, Hampshire after an electrical fault caused one of its robots to catch light.