THERE was chaos in Newbury town centre this evening (Thursday) as fire ripped through the former Bar Sport in Bartholomew Street.
The blaze started soon after 5pm; nearby offices were evacuated and the road was closed.
A police officer at the scene said no one was thought to have been hurt and that the blaze was under control by around 5.30pm.
An employee from nearby Sovereign Housing said: "Our alarms went off at 5.10pm and we were all evacuated."
There were unconfirmed reports that the site - which has been officially unoccupied for several months - had become a magnet for homeless people.
At least three fire engines from Newbury were on the scene at 5.30pm.
An engine from Oxfordshire Fire brigade arrived around 6pm but left minutes after.
Smoke was still billowing from vents at the rear of the building at 6pm and local traffic was gridlocked.
Check back with Newburytoday tomorrow for updates and see next week's Newbury Weekly news for a full report.