More than 40 firefighters rushed to the scene of a fire in Jarrow at the town's auction house.
44 firefighters and two police officers were called to the fire at the Jarrow Auction Room at 2:39am.
The building, which is on Bede Burn Road, was also once a Methodist church in the town.
Nine pumps and an aerial ladder were being used to tackle the blaze.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service advised people to avoid the area if they could and there is still some travel disruption in the area.
The fire is now under control but firefighters remain at the scene.
Mark Gerrard, Group Manager, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue service said “In the early hours of this morning ten appliances and two special appliances were called to a significant structural fire that took place in a former church in Jarrow.
"The church is currently being used as an auction room, obviously this is a serious structural fire and we are currently still on site, thankfully there have been no reported injuries.
"I would like to take this opportunity to praise all our operational crew who attended and all the emergency crews who helped to restrict the spread of the fire to only the building of origin.
"A thorough investigation will commence today depending on the structural safety of the building.”