A HUGE bitumen container carrying 25,000 litres of surfacing material will have to be replaced after firefighters tackled a blaze in the early hours.

Fire crews from Caversham Road, Wokingham Road and Whitley Wood were called to the industrial park on Darwin Close at 5.30am and were on the scene for two hours.

The fire started after bitumen was seen leaking from the silo, forcing the emergency services to strip away the insulation to in order to quash the flames.

Paul Mortimer, watch manager for Whitley Wood fire station, believes the fire started at Clydebridge Chemicals.

He said: "It was a big container and on the outside it has a metal cladding with insulation.

"The bitumen had leaked and the insulation was smoldering away so we had to cut away the skin of the container and then extinguish the fire.

"We used the hose reels and specialist cutting gear to pull the insulation away.

"The size of the container was pretty big. It carries around 25,000 litres of bitumen.

"We just made the area safe, but I would think a whole new container would have to be drafted."