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Exclusion zones lifted as operation to tackle Ocado fire enters third day

The Ocado fire from above - picture credited to Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Evacuations and exclusion zones surrounding the Ocado Warehouse fire in Andover have been lifted, after some people had to spend the night away from their homes.

The evacuations had to be made as fire crews had to remove cylinders found in the warehouse, which has now been on fire since early on Tuesday morning.

More than 200 firefighters from Hampshire, Berkshire and numerous other counties from across the South of England have been at the site dealing with the blaze, which was at one point declared a major incident.

People living nearby had been advised to close their windows and doors, as the smoke and flames intensified last night.

Overnight the main aim of crews who were working was to target known hotspots and reduce the intensity of the blaze, as well as taking away the cylinders which had caused a safety risk.

Our reporter Jonny Freeman went along to the scene this morning, where he was taken to the command area where emergency services have been based throughout the incident.

Just before 9am today, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed the evacuation notices had been lifted and road closures were also being lifted.

This allowed many people to get back to work, but it did lead to queues along major roads across Andover.

Some people had questioned the safety of these closures, as many of them weren't manned at times, allowing cars and pedestrians to pass through.

We spoke to Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager, Nigel Cooper, who's been helping lead the operation to tackle the fire.

Speaking to our reporter Jonny Freeman, he told us he's so grateful for the support of the local community, emergency services personnel, local organisations and volunteers throughout this incident:

Many people have been stunned by the sheer scale and size of the fire.

There have been many pictures and video posted throughout this week, showing the scale of the task facing firefighters at the scene.

Ocado has apologised to its customers for the disruption they may be facing, as the online supermarket's had to cancel some orders. It's also thanked emergency services and various organisations for their response to the incident.

The company's shares have dropped due to the fire and it's expecting to take a financial hit because of what's happened.

It's said meeting customer demand has been difficult, as it's had to shift operations to other sites.

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