Police are investigating a suspected arson attack on a house in Seaham.
It happened in Fox Street in the town just after 1am today.
Two crews from Seaham fire station and one from Peterlee rushed out to the scene.
Thankfully, there were no casualties as the property was empty.
The cause of the incident is not yet known, but officers from Durham Constabulary have confirmed an investigation between themselves and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service has now been started.
Witness Emma Campbell told the Echo: "I was just passing through to get home when me and my partner seen the smoke, so we dashed to find out what it was because for the amount of smoke we knew it had to be from a car or house so we followed the smoke until we found it.
"The house that was on fire was empty and the neighbours from either side got out OK."
Pc Richard Martin, of Durham Constabulary, said: “This is a serious incident and it was fortunate that no persons have been injured."
A spokesman for the fire service said: "This was a derelict house fire which we were called to in the early hours of the morning.
"The house has been gutted by the fire.
"We don't know the cause of it yet but a fire investigation is now underway."
Witnesses to the incident are being asked to contact Pc Martin at Peterlee CID on 101.