Tyne & Wear

Sunderland gas explosion: Woman hurt as house 'blown apart'

The damaged house Image copyright Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Image caption The explosion was reported at about 08:50 BST

A woman has been taken to hospital following a gas explosion at a house in Sunderland.

Emergency services were called to an address in Rosslyn Avenue in Ryhope at about 08:50 BST.

Northumbria Police confirmed the cause of the explosion was gas and said everyone has been accounted for.

The North East Ambulance Service said the woman, in her 50s, was rescued from the destroyed house suffering from burns.

Click here for more on this and other stories from across the North East

They said she was in a serious but stable condition and had been taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

One house has been completely destroyed by the blast while a neighbouring property has been heavily damaged, with debris scattered across the road.

Interactive Before and after the Sunderland explosion

Tyne & Wear Fire Service image

A Tyne and Wear Fire Service picture of the house after the explosion

Google Maps August 2016

A Google Maps image of the house from August 2016

The woman had been in her bathroom getting ready to go out when the explosion happened, the emergency services said.

Supt Steve Hartley, from Northumbria Police, added: "Thankfully she was OK and taken to a local hospital."

He added that emergency services and local authorities were working "tirelessly" to get residents back in their homes.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service sent five engines and a search dog to the scene, while the Great North Air Ambulance also attended.

Bill Forster, from the fire service, said the house "remains in some considerable state of collapse and that's going to make any physical investigation very hazardous".

Image copyright Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption Specialist search and rescue dogs were deployed at the scene

He added: "Initially the walls of the building had collapsed and the upper section of the building had come down.

"The lady was trapped beneath that rubble.

"We have a number of pieces of specialist equipment we used to make sure there was no-one else in there, then there was then a further run over with two search dogs."

A 100ft (30m) cordon has been put in place to keep members of the public away.

Image copyright Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Image caption Urgent investigations are under way to determine the cause of the explosion
Image copyright Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Image caption Neighbours said they heard an "almighty bang"

A neighbour told BBC Newcastle all that is left of the house is "rubble".

The woman, called Zara, said she heard a "very loud bang" and "the houses shook".

She said she saw two houses following the explosion, one of which was "completely flattened" and the other "pretty much in half".

The witness also described the chaotic scene with people "running all over, not knowing what to do".

Image copyright Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption The fire service sent five engines and a search dog
Image copyright Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption A drone is being used to survey the damage

A woman on a neighbouring street said half of the semi-detached house had been flattened by the explosion.

Tracey Pounder, 51, said she heard an "almighty bang".

"I went upstairs and you could see dust rising," she added.

Image copyright Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Image caption A woman who suffered burns was taken to hospital in a serious but stable condition

"Half of the semi has gone and next door is wrecked.

"I came down to see what was happening and it is a complete shock."

Sean Hughes, 40, said he heard the explosion over a mile away. He added: "I saw the window move and the house shook."

Image copyright Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Image caption The Great North Air Ambulance sent two helicopters

Related Topics

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites