A FREE counselling helpline is open to calls from anyone affected by the major incident of the Ocado warehouse fire last week.

Health companies Simplyhealth and Health Assured are currently running the service for three weeks for individuals aged 16 and above.

Ocado's warehouse, in Walworth Business Park, was engulfed in flames over several days from the early hours of Tuesday, February 5, and by Wednesday evening nearby homes were evacuated and given temporary accommodation at Harrow Way Community School.

Ocado also employs more than 700 workers at its South Way site.

Sarah Greenaway, head of community impact at Simplyhealth, said: “This fire was a traumatic local incident that is likely to have an impact on the local community for many months to come.

"We have 750 employees based in Andover and as an organisation that was founded in support of local communities, we want to do whatever we can to help people access the support they need.

"We provide a counselling helpline in partnership with Health Assured and it is only right to offer this free of charge to anyone in the community who has been affected by this devastating fire.”

David Price, chief executive officer of Health Assured added: “Our sympathies are with the local community that has been affected by the fire.

"Around 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze. We’re inspired by the resilience and courage displayed by residents and the hundreds of firefighters who contained the blaze and we are here to provide support to those looking to understand the impact of this traumatic event.”

“A crisis or traumatic event can trigger overwhelming emotional responses that can have a lasting impact on communities. Health Assured’s 24/7 free crisis helpline offers professional emotional support to anyone in crisis. When calling the crisis line, individuals receive crisis counselling support or legal advice and signposting."

Anyone affected can call 0800 783 8390 quoting HA104123.