A taxi driver watched on as his vehicle caught fire seconds after fleeing it when smoke began to billow from its engine.
Firefighters from Sunderland Central Fire Station were called to Ryhope Road, outside Southmoor Academy, at 1.15am today to find the Peugeot Premier well alight.
Police were also called in to close off both lanes of the dual carriageway, as the smoke created by the fire meant it was too dangerous to pass.
Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used hose reels to put out the blaze, with the scene cleared by 2am.
The driver, who was not carrying any passengers in the vehicle at the time, was not injured.