FIREFIGHTERS were scrambled to a 'challenging' fire that engulfed two buildings near Newbury.

Flames tore through the buildings in Woolton Hill and at its height needed 10 fire crews on site to tackle the fire.

Shocking pictures show the charred ruins of the buildings after it happened about 8pm yesterday.

Fire engines from Berkshire, Kingsclere, Whitchurch, Andover, Sutton Scotney, Winchester and Tadley were called to the scene of the semi-detached house.

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Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue crews were drafted in to help Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and were on the scene to put out the fire for five hours.

A spokesman from the neighbouring force said: "Firefighters from both Hampshire and Royal Berkshire fire and rescue services worked into the night to stop a property fire in Woolton Hill near Newbury.

"Crews were called at around 8pm last night, May 5, when Hampshire Fire Control received numerous calls reporting two houses were involved in the blaze.

"The incident was scaled up so that at its height there were ten fire engines in attendance when both of the semi-detached houses were fully alight.

The fire service said the fire was finally put out at around 1am this morning, and the two-storey buildings were fully destroyed with two domestic storage tanks also affected.

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The spokesman added: "Crews also had to deal with a running fuel fire which had entered the water drains and caused a number of manhole covers to explode.

"Fortunately ambulance crews were only in attendance as a precaution with no casualties reported from the blaze which saw several properties evacuated.

"The homeowners of the unaffected houses in the road were able to return in the early hours of the morning."