Sunderland explosion: Woman alive after blast destroys her home

A Sunderland mother has been rescued after a huge explosion destroyed her house, a relative has said.

The woman was at home in Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope, when the blast happened at about 8.50am this morning.

It flattened the semi-detached property, while the other half of the building was badly damaged, with part of its roof and wall ripped off.

The victim - whose daughter was not at home - was "conscious and talking" as she was taken to hospital, according to a relative who posted on a local Facebook group.

She wrote: "There must be a God somewhere. How the hell can anyone survive that explosion?"

A North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman confirmed that one casualty suffering burns had been taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, in a serious but stable condition.

The Great North Air Ambulance carrying the injured woman takes off from a nearby field. Pic: PA.

The Great North Air Ambulance carrying the injured woman takes off from a nearby field. Pic: PA.

Emergency crews raced to the scene at around 8.50am after the blast, which left debris strewn across the road.

The rescued woman, who had been in her bathroom when the house collapsed, was trapped under rubble, the emergency services said.

Fire crews arriving at the scene entered the devastated property and did a "cracking job" assisted by ambulance crews, a senior officer said.

Bill Forster, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: "The walls of the building have collapsed and the upper sections of the building have come down and the lady was trapped beneath that rubble."

The scene of the huge explosion at Rosslyn Avenue in Ryhope.

The scene of the huge explosion at Rosslyn Avenue in Ryhope.

Superintendent Steve Heatley of Northumbria Police said search specialists have confirmed there are no further casualties trapped.

Debris from the blast was strewn over a wide area. Roof files were scattered across a footpath and into a cornfield behind the house, and a white PVC back door was blasted over the garden fence.

Shocked residents gathered at the edge of the cordon, as the full extent of the damage began to sink in.

Northumbria Police asked people to stay away from the scene, which was cordoned off. They said there was nothing to indicate any link to terrorism.

Another view of the scene of the explosion.

Another view of the scene of the explosion.

Some neighbours were asked to leave their homes, and offered assistance at the former community centre in Ryhope Road/Black Road.

Tyne and Wear Fire & Rescue Service had five appliances, 26 firefighters and several specialist units in attendance.

They included an operational support unit and a dog trained to search for injured people.

The North East Ambulance Service was also in attendance, and two helicopters from the Great North Air Ambualnce Service were called.

People living as far away as Hollycarrside, Hill View and Grangetown said they heard the blast, with some saying they felt their windows and patio doors shake.