Man in critical condition after Sunderland house explosion

One of two men injured in a suspected gas explosion is now in a critical but stable condition, police have said.

The Northumbria force has confirmed the man's condition deteriorated overnight following the blast in Sunderland on Tuesday afternoon (15 February).

Two people were taken to hospital with blast injuries, and a number of residents were evacuated.

A police spokesperson said: "At 3.45pm yesterday we received a report of a suspected gas explosion at an address on Whickham Street, Sunderland.

"Two men were taken to hospital. One man's condition has since deteriorated and he is currently in a critical but stable condition."

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said it had been a "significant" explosion.

Photos of severe damage at the property in Roker show its roof and part of its front missing. Credit: PA Images

Photos of severe damage at the property in Roker show its roof and part of its front missing, with bricks and debris on the street outside.

The property is now being demolished ahead of the storms expected to hit from today.

Neighbour John Ellis, 43, received a phone call about the blast and believed his father - with whom he lives - was at home at the time as he works nights, but by luck he was doing training at work.

He said: "I was ringing him and he wasn't answering and when I got here I thought he was dead.

"Luckily, it's not turned out that way."

Mr Ellis, a truck driver, said his council flat had been destroyed by the blast, along with the contents, and he was not insured.

He said: "The roof's been blown off, the front's collapsed, the back's collapsed - it's uninhabitable."

But Mr Ellis said all the property - clothes, TV and furniture - can be replaced.

He thought his neighbour had been pulled out by the fire brigade and that the air ambulance had been at the scene.