1. ITV Report

Firefighters tackle huge fire at store in Sunderland

Photo: Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service

A fire has gutted a clothes store in Sunderland.

Crews were called at around 7.20pm on Wednesday 23 January with reports the Peacock's clothes shop was in flames on Blandford Street in the city centre.

At its height, the fire service had seven appliances on the scene - and 34 firefighters were in attendance.

Watch Kris Jepson's report here:

On Thursday morning, the fire service said the fire was extinguished, but crews were still at the scene as the building was deemed too dangerous to enter.

Firefighters said they were thankful there were no casualties.

We are extremely fortunate and that’s due to the diligence of the firefighters maintaining a cordon to ensure that people are well informed so they can stay away from the area. It was extremely difficult to fight. Because one, getting into the premises and two, the water supply to tackle the fire, therefore we used defensive fire tactics and fought the fire from the outside to contain it.

– Richard Rackaby, Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service

An investigation is now underway and Sunderland City Council said they were contacting the owner of the building to discuss what happens next.

City Council building control officers attended Blandford Street at 9pm last night after being notified of the fire at by the emergency services and were at the scene all night. After making the immediate area around the building safe by cordoning it off to the public, they are hoping to speak to the building’s owner today with a view to probable demolition. Council gritting teams also assisted in the operation by treating pavements and roads surrounding the building to thaw the frozen water run-off from the fire-fighting, while council cleansing teams are on standby to move into the affected area to clean it as soon as it safe to do so. The council is continuing to support the emergency services in monitoring the incident and making sure that the area in the immediate vicinity of the building is safe. In the meantime Blandford Street remains closed at the Maritime Place junction so there is no cut through the pedestrianised street between Crowtree Road and Waterloo Place.

– Sunderland City Council
The blaze at the Peacocks store on Blandford Street Credit: Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service

Residents have been urged to keep doors and windows closed.