More than 200 evacuated from Sunderland cinema after fire

More than 200 people were evacuated from Sunderland's Empire Cinema after a fire this evening.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service was called to the cinema in Lambton Street shortly before 6.30pm.

Sunderland's Empire Cinema has been evacuated after a fire in an electical cupboard

Sunderland's Empire Cinema has been evacuated after a fire in an electical cupboard

Appliances from Marley Park and Sunderland Central stations dealt with a fire in an electrical cupboard.

Approximately 250 members of the public were evacuated.

Two firefighters using breathing apparatus and CO2 extinguishers tackled the blaze.

Customers shared pictures on social media of crowds standing outside.

Fire crews and crowds outside the cinema. Thanks to reader Zoe Downs for the image

Fire crews and crowds outside the cinema. Thanks to reader Zoe Downs for the image

The cause of the blaze is currently being investigated.

A statement was posted on the cinema's Facebook pgae: "Please note that due to circumstances beyond our control this cinema is currently CLOSED.

"We will post further updates and details for claiming refunds for cancelled shows asap tomorrow. We will not be able to reply to individual posts via Facebook / Twitter etc.

"We appreciate your understanding and apologise for any inconvenience caused."