A man has been taken to hospital following a suspected gas explosion at a block of flats in Washington.
Firefighters from Birtley and South Shields joined local crews at the scene of the blast in Collingwood Court this afternoon, shortly after midday.
We understand tenants in the block are still unable to access their homes and specialist engineers and crews are assessing the structural damage to the building.
The explosion blew out bricks and a window of one of the flats on the third floor of the four-storey building, leaving the living room and radiator exposed. The building was quickly evacuated of residents.
Emergency services say there are reported casualties but no serious injuries from the blast.