AN elderly man had to be rescued from his flat after a fire ripped through a shop next door.
Twenty-two firefighters were called to the blaze in Railway Terrace, South Hylton, after a member of the public raised the alarm just after 1.30am yesterday.
Crews from Sunderland Central, Farringdon, Fulwell and Washington were scrambled to the blaze and spent five hours making the building secure.
Farringdon watch manager Mark Phelan said: “Somebody saw the fire from the back of the premises.
“When we got there, it was well alight.
“There was thick smoke coming from the front of the shop.
“There were three appliances initially. We asked for another and then for the aerial platform – the fire had broken through the roof and destroyed the roof entirely.”
Firefighters had to wake the man in his 70s, who lives in the flat next door.
Mr Phelan added: “There was a dividing wall between him and the pizza shop, so he was not in too much danger but it was a precaution.”
An investigation into how the fire started is under way.