DOZENS of firefighters were drafted in to tackle a blaze in a former Sunderland pub as flames engulfed the two-storey building.
At its peak, 26 firefighters from four stations fought the inferno at the empty TJ Doyle’s in Hanover Place, Deptford.
Roads had to be closed, and fire crews initially believed people were inside the burning building.
The establishment was run by Irish businessman Dermot Nulty until it closed earlier this year.
The fire is said to have started in the food preparation area at the rear of the pub.
Flames then engulfed the bar and lounge area, causing extensive damage, before spreading to the flat above.
After an investigation, police said it looks as though the fire started as a result of an electrical fault.
A spokeswoman for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: “It was originally thought that there may have been persons living within the property. However, after a thorough search it was established that no persons were involved.”
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “Police were called to TJ Doyle’s pub in Hanover Place in Sunderland at 6.18pm on Tuesday following reports of a fire at the empty premises.”
She added: “Police attended and closed local roads and the fire service attended to extinguish the fire.”