Here are pictures of the fire at Sainsbury’s Thameside Depot in Lombard Wall, Charlton, in which six lorries were damaged as well as a small section of the building.

AS IT BROKE: Greenwich residents watch as smoke billows

The thick black clouds - clearly visible from Canary Wharf - were brought under control by 6.30pm, just over two hours after the incident was reported.

Today, the brigade has said the activation of sprinklers inside the building, and the quick actions of its firefighters, prevented the blaze from spreading further into the warehouse.

Deputy assistant commissioner Mark Andrews said: “There is absolutely no doubt that in this case the sprinkler system, along with the quick actions of our crews, prevented a much more serious fire from spreading any further into the depot and causing potentially millions of pounds worth of damage to both the building and stock inside.

“This incident highlights the clear benefits of sprinklers to businesses and we would urge all companies to install them.

"As well as being potentially life saving devices, sprinklers and other fire suppression systems help with business continuity by minimising disruption and allowing businesses to get back to normal as soon as possible.”