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Lidl makes speedy recovery from solar panel fire at £70m Peterborough depot

A major operation by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue was put in motion to contain the fire

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Lidl took on a ‘business as usual’ approach by resuming operations last night at its £70m regional distribution centre in Peterborough just hours after 60 firefighters tackled a solar panel fire in the roof.

Around 400 people are employed there.

Back to business:  Lidl distribution centre in Peterborough today as experts began evaluating the damage from Friday’s solar panel fire. PHOTO: Terry Harris

Back to business: Lidl distribution centre in Peterborough today as experts began evaluating the damage from Friday’s solar panel fire. PHOTO: Terry Harris

Lidl opened the centre – near the A1 at Alwalton – in August 2020 initially to serve 48 stores.

Back to business:  Lidl distribution centre in Peterborough today as experts began evaluating the damage from Friday’s solar panel fire. PHOTO: Terry Harris

Back to business: Lidl distribution centre in Peterborough today as experts began evaluating the damage from Friday’s solar panel fire. PHOTO: Terry Harris

It said the centre would use a natural refrigerant system, which heats and cools the entire building, along with solar panels that generate 10 per cent of the electricity required by the building.

And it was a partial segment of those solar panels that caught fire just before 2pm on Friday.

Back to business:  Lidl distribution centre in Peterborough today as experts began evaluating the damage from Friday’s solar panel fire. PHOTO: Terry Harris

Back to business: Lidl distribution centre in Peterborough today as experts began evaluating the damage from Friday’s solar panel fire. PHOTO: Terry Harris

A major operation by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue was put in motion to contain the fire and Lidl bosses have praised their rapid reaction.

Jasper Parsons, Lidl GB regional director, told ITV Anglia: “On behalf of the team here at Lidl I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the police and fire crews that attended our Peterborough distribution centre on Friday afternoon.

“Working quickly and meticulously they did an exceptional job of keeping everyone safe, whilst containing and ultimately extinguishing the fire that broke out on the roof of the building.”

Back to business:  Lidl distribution centre in Peterborough today as experts began evaluating the damage from Friday’s solar panel fire. PHOTO: Terry Harris

Back to business: Lidl distribution centre in Peterborough PHOTO: Lidl GB

Mr Parsons also said the company was grateful to retail colleagues at neighbouring Amazon “who kindly opened their doors, providing our teams with support and access to their welfare facilities”.

And he was equally full of praise for his own staff “for swift actions and clear decision making”.

By early evening the distribution centre was back up and running.

The centre was part of a two year £1.45bn investment by Lidl across 2019 and 2020 – and the Peterborough centre opened on time despite challenges faced during the Covid pandemic.

The Peterborough distribution centre spans 45,000 m² which is the equivalent of more than eight football pitches; it replaced a smaller warehouse at Lutterworth, which was turned into a non-food warehouse.

 

 

 

 

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