UCC Coffee’s roastery in Dartford was evacuated on Thursday (11 October) after a fire was reported by a member of staff at 5.45am. There were no reported casualties.
According to Kent Fire and Rescue Service, 10 fire engines and two height vehicles tackled the blaze, which was contained in a 1,600m2 warehouse.
Firefighters were expected to remain on the scene all day Friday (12 October), the Service said. This was due to the large amount of coffee inside the building, which needed to be turned over and dampened down to be fully extinguished, it added.
People living and working nearby were reminded to keep windows and doors closed. An estimated 50 residents in nearby flats were evacuated for a short time yesterday.
‘The fire is under control’
“A fire broke out at our Dartford roastery within the Riverside Industrial Estate early yesterday morning,” said UCC Coffee managing director Elaine Swift. “All employees were evacuated safely, and we can confirm the fire is under control and has been contained in the warehouse.
Swift added that the company was hopeful it would regain access to the production facility soon.
“We are working closely with the Fire Brigade to manage the incident and have a disaster recovery team focusing on business continuity. Our team are working hard to secure production and supply for our customers to minimise disruption and will be supported by our European roasteries if necessary.”
A spokeswoman for Kent Fire and Rescue Service said: “Fire crews are making good progress at a large fire in Dartford within a coffee warehouse and factory on the Riverside industrial estate.
‘Working hard to prevent fire spread’
“The building is roughly 40m by 40m in size and firefighters are working hard to prevent fire spread. The Fire Service’s technical rescue team in on site and using a drone to get a view of the incident from above.”
UCC Coffee UK & Ireland is a subsidiary of UCC Holdings, which develops, manufactures, and distributes coffee products in Europe, North America and Asia.
It followed a £1.3m investment in its Milton Keynes headquarters in May, as part of numerous upgrades and improvements across the business.