Cause of coffee machine explosion revealed

UK supermarket giant Sainsbury's said it has discovered what caused a coffee machine to explode at one of its stores, causing seven injuries.

The incident was caused by a failure of the coffee machine’s pressure relief valve, a Sainsbury's spokeswoman explained. Heat continued to be supplied to the unit, over-pressurising its boiler.

The company switched off 158 Elektra machines across the country following the explosion in Farnborough, Hampshire, earlier this week. Many will be back in use today because the potential fault is present in only a minority of machines.

"The environmental health officer (EHO), technical representatives from the machine supplier, independent forensic engineers and Sainsbury's in-house engineering team have been investigating since Tuesday and have identified the cause of the problem," the spokeswoman said.

"The supplier of the machines has confirmed that in 2009 a design amendment was made to the machine that could potentially allow this type of failure, and that the original design of equipment could not fail in the same way.

"Thirty-two of our stores have the new design and these machines will remain out of service. The EHO has agreed that the machines in the remaining 126 stores, which are of the original design, are safe to use and can be brought back into service."

The casualties included customers and staff who were in the shop during a busy lunchtime, and who suffered cuts and burns when the machine exploded.

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