Six people are in hospital after a gas explosion brought down part of a flat in Gateshead.
Three officers, a paramedic, a gas engineer and the occupier were all seriously injured when the blast happened.
The officers and paramedic had just escorted the man from the flat for his own safety, but it is unclear whether they went back in to the flat before the explosion.
One neighbour said that they heard a loud bang and came outside to find emergency services everywhere, telling him to go back inside.
Another resident said that the bang was so big, that their son rose from his bed.
The police officers are being treated in the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
Their condition is described as serious but not life threatening. A gas engineer who was injured was also taken to the RVI.
Five neighbouring flats have been evacuated while engineers assess the situation.