FIREFIGHTERS were called to a blaze in Colthrop Lane last night (Tuesday) after a tyre pile had apparently been set on fire.
At around 7.30pm eye witnesses reported a pall of thick black smoke which hung over homes in Colthrop drifting towards Thatcham.
Two fire engines from Newbury accessed the site just south of the River Kennet via the gated bridge at Kennetholme Quarry owned by Grundon.
On arrival crews discovered the tyres well alight with eight firefighters battling the blaze.
They remained on site for approximately two hours before the flames were eventually extinguished.
Seventeen-year-old Alexandra Covell was walking along the canal towpath around 7.45pm when she saw flames coming from the disused quarry.
Miss Covell said: "I was just walking past and saw flames and smoke in a building across the field so I rang the fire brigade."
According to firecrews a family of rabbits had made a warren nearby but did not survive the blaze.
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue say that arson is suspected and the investigation has now been passed onto Thames Valley Police.
Police have been mounting regular patrols near the old mill site following a number of incidents involving youths at a derelict home in the adjoining woodland.
PICTURE CREDIT: Newbury Firestation