A FIRE at a commercial premises in Newbury last night - which was caused by a shipping container of lithium batteries going up in flames - could have been catastrophic, firefighters have said.
Several large explosions were heard across the town and smoke could be seen coming from the site in Abex Road.
The blaze, which started just after 5pm and took an hour and a half to extinguish, is being treated as accidental.
Fire crews from Newbury and Whitley Wood spent three hours making the scene safe, leaving just after 8pm.
Crew manager Mike Wilson said: "There was a decision to make about how many people we commit because you never know how bad it is going to be.
"It was becoming more and more intense and we needed to take immediate action. It could have been catastrophic otherwise."
"There were several explosions and we had to take advice from chemical experts before we put water on the fire.
"We managed to get the fire under control by tying the hoses to a nearby fence."
Several residents got in touch with NewburyToday to say they had heard up to ten explosions followed by sirens.
One resident, who lives just 200 yards away from the site, said he was concerned for his family's safety.