Gas explosion at Paices Hill travellers site

A gas cylinder exploded and caused a fire at a travellers site in Berkshire.

About 100 people had to leave the Paices Hill site near Aldermaston, after the explosion inside a temporary cabin, the fire service said.

The structure was completely destroyed and a 200m (656ft) cordon put in place, shutting part of the A340 road.

Thames Valley Police said an officer driving past the site saw the blaze and a number of gas canisters appeared to have been set alight.

About 25 firefighters were called shortly before 17:00 BST. The fire has been put out and the scene made safe.

A spokesman for Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service said the cylinders that remained in the cabin were not thought to pose a risk.

The blaze was discovered at 16:50 BST by a police officer who noticed "a large amount of smoke and heard an explosion on some wasteland near to the travellers site".

A spokesperson said: "A number of gas canisters appear to have been set alight.

"The A340 is closed near to the site and is likely to remain so for some hours while the fire brigade ensure the area is safe."

West Berkshire Council was speaking to residents to arrange temporary accommodation for those who require it.

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