Firefighters in Sunderland have been working through the night to tackle a building fire in Southwick.
The blaze, which started yesterday at around 5.30pm, ripped through a former bingo hall in the city which was being used as an auction rooms business.
Dozens of people attended the scene, at The Green, this morning to look at the damage caused by the fire, which saw part of the building’s roof collapse inwards and 50 firefighters attend.
Resident Kayleigh McDoughal, 23, from Thompson Road, saw the blaze last night and called it devastating for the community.
“I live nearby so when I heard about the fire last night I came down to see what was happening.
“There were lots of people gathered there watching it blazing, it was horrific.
“A lamppost nearby came down as a result and the lights on my house were flickering on and off for about 45 minutes, so I was worried I would lose the power.
“It is a really old building, so I can’t believe it is gone.
“Everyone will be devastated, it is dreadful.”
Other residents in attendance today, who did not wish to be named, also spoke of their shock at the incident.
One who worked in the area added: “The building has been here for years so it is such a shame.
“It is devastating for businesses and the community.”
Northumbria Police officers remained on scene today and on their Facebook page said: “Localised roads [are] closed to allow emergency services to respond.
“Inquiries with the fire services ongoing into the cause of the fire.”
Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service confirmed this morning that work was still ongoing at the site, with two appliances and an aerial ladder platform in attendance.
Around 4pm -nearly 24 hours after it started - the fire service confirmed that the incident had concluded and all fire service appliances had left the scene.
Hundreds of people have also left comments on the Sunderland Echo Facebook page about the incident, and have paid tribute to the hard work of the firefighters.
Tim Harding said: “Great work by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue.”
Karen Cessford added: “Firefighters have done an amazing job.
“Well done to all involved in keeping every one safe.
“Such a shame that part of the history of The Green has gone this way.”
Julie Waddle commented: “So sad about the building, glad that no one was hurt, objects can be replaced, people can’t.”
Chloe Cutts wrote: “I was on the bus on way through to go to Red House and the bus driver had to divert. The fire was huge.
“Well done to emergency services. I hope no body was injured.”