EMERGENCY crews from across the country descended on Wearside to help tackle a major incident.
But this was for Exercise Endeavour, a test of firefighters’ skills on a massive scale, and not a real life disaster.
Personnel from specialist Urban Search and Rescue teams in Yorkshire, London and Hampshire are also at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s Barmston Mere training centre for the three-day operation.
Scenarios being carried out include putting out a blazing retail unit, saving passengers from a building collapse at a metro station and a serious road traffic collision.
An underwater rescue was also carried out to get “casualties” out of an underground flooded car park.
Chris Lowther, area manager for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Exercises like Endeavour are invaluable, as they allow our specialist teams to put their skills and knowledge to the test under realistic conditions.
“This is important for us because it gives us a chance to test our ability to respond to incidents both locally and nationally.
“There is a risk involved I have to say, but it’s a controlled risk area.
“We thoroughly risk assess the area beforehand, but this exercise is as real as you can get it.”