Reading fire: Firefighters confirm huge blaze is extinguished after workman lifted to safety

  • Video courtesy of Matthew Woolley

Firefighters have confirmed a huge fire at a high rise building in Reading has now been extinguished.

A workman who appeared to be trapped on the burning building at the Station Hill development in the town centre was lifted to safety by a crane, footage has shown.

Two people were taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation after the large fire broke out near the train station on Thursday morning.

One video appeared to show a person who was trapped on the roof being lifted to safety by a crane, before crowds below broke out in applause. It's believed another person was rescued by a crane too.

Homes and businesses nearby are being evacuated.

More than 50 firefighters and an Aerial Ladder Platform and Incident Command Unit were called to the scene at 11:38am this morning (Thursday 23 November).

Firefighters - with breathing apparatus - are using two main jets to fight the fire.

A spokesperson for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue said: "We are currently attending an incident on Station Hill, Reading.

"Please avoid the area to allow emergency services clear access to the scene. "If you live in the surrounding area, please keep windows closed and stay indoors.

  • Video courtesy of Rob Wilson

"A number of our crews are currently on the scene.

"While emergency services work, we ask that people avoid the area where possible and close windows and doors if you live or work nearby.

"Thank you for your patience while we deal with this incident."

A South Central Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “I can confirm we’ve taken two people to the Royal Berkshire Hospital for further assessment and treatment for smoke inhalation, neither of whom were severe cases.

“We are now on stand-by supporting the fire service (which is a standard operational procedure when they are working at height and at scale).

“We have our hazardous area response team, an ambulance, the Thames Valley Air Ambulance critical care car, an operational commander, a tactical adviser and a tactical commander at the scene.”

Thames Valley Police confirmed road closures are in place.

A police spokesperson said: "We are working to allow access for residents to premises that have not been affected by the fire, and to the hotels."

Buses are being affected with many routes diverted. Reading Buses said passengers can expect delays to their journeys.

A spokesperson for the bus company said: "It is currently not possible to use the stops in Friar Street, Station Road, Blagrave Street, Market Place, St Mary's Butts and Cheapside."

Trains running in and out of Reading station aren't affected at the current time.

Thames Travel took to X to report service issues. A spokesperson said: "Due to an incident Reading the 143 and X40 services are unable to serve Friar Street, Station Road and Forbury Road."The nearest alternative will be Reading Station North Interchange."We apologise for any inconvenience."

Plumes of thick black smoke can be seen miles from the scene of the fire. Credit: Matthew Woolley

A spokesperson for the Station Hill development said: "We can confirm that a fire took place on the Station Hill construction site this morning.

"We activated our fire emergency plans immediately, the emergency services were notified and are currently on site.

"The safety of those on site and the wider public is always our first priority and the site has been evacuated as a result. As soon as we have more information we will provide an update."

More follows.