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You may be waiting a little longer for your Amazon packages if you live in the Southern California area. Early Friday morning an Amazon distribution center caught fire and ripped through the warehouse causing massive devastation to the building.

The three-alarm fire was called in at around 5:30am on June 5th in Redlands, California - located about 60 miles from Los Angeles.  Six fire departments in the area were unable to control the blaze which looked like a scene out of a doomsday movie. Thankfully, there were no casualties and as of now no injuries reported. Spokesperson for Amazon, Lisa Levandowski stated, “We are glad everyone is safe, and thankful for the efforts of the local firefighters and first responders.”

The warehouse, owned by Amazon but operated by Kuehne and Nagel, a global transport and logistics company was fairly new. According to Redlands Fire Chief Jim Topoleski, the building had the latest fire protection. The distribution center housed many large items such as mattresses – but Amazon assured the public that the fire would have limited impact on customers as they have many other fulfillment centers around the country.

As for what caused the fire, Topoleski and his department have opened an investigation. He suggested to Fox News, “Something overwhelmed the sprinkler system immediately to allow the fire to rapidly grow.”

In other Amazon news, Amazon recently filed a patent for a blockchain system that tracks items as they move on the supply chain. According to the patent that was submitted on May 26th, the global e-commerce company described it as a ‘distributed ledger certification’ system. It was developed to advance “trust through an enterprise services platform that allows parties to map their global supply chains.”

This patent would help solve Amazon’s issue with counterfeit businesses that has troubled the site for the past few years. In the past, Amazon has been accused of not vetting their third-party vendors and have been plagued by many pejorative investigational articles. In August of 2019, The Wall Street Journal proclaimed that Amazon had “thousands of banned, unsafe or mislabeled products.” The following October, CNBC came out with their own scathing report that Amazon regularly sold expired goods such as baby formula to customers. When brought to their attention Amazon proclaimed that these cases of expired foods were isolated incidents.

These incidents of misleading, counterfeit, and expired goods have caused many reputable companies to yank their products from the site. Among them was Nike who severed their two-year partnership agreement to focus more on their direct-to-consumer business.

Amazon hopes that with this patented block chain it will increase visibility for the user – winning back companies like Nike or Birkenstock that previously cut ties with them.

Amazon is more than just a global e-commerce company as they set their sites on other industries such as the supply chain. While Amazon has come under fire lately for delivering counterfeit and expired products – they hope that their recent patent will not only improve relationships with customers but also gain the trust of businesses who may be hesitant to work with them.

Last modified on Monday, 15 June 2020
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 Danielle Loughnane

Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has currently been working in the data science field since 2015. She is the author of a comic book entitled, “The Superhighs” and wrote a blog from 2011-2015 about working in the restaurant industry called, "Sir I Think You've Had Too Much.” In her spare time she likes reading graphic novels and snuggling with her dogs.

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