Blandford Street fire: Crews battled to extinguish huge blaze in city centre for 10 hours
Firefighters battled the blaze which devastated the Peacocks clothing shop for almost 10 hours before the fire was finally extinguished.
The efforts of the brave firefighters who tackled the city centre blaze have been praised by the fire service's group manager at the scene today.
A fire investigation to determine the cause of the blaze has begun with teams hoping to enter the property as soon as it is structurally safe to do so.
Steve Burdis, group manager for the East District of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service told the Echo: "At approximately 7.20pm last night we received calls to this incident and we dispatched two appliances from our control room following the information we were receiving.
"From that point we received multiple calls, around 20 calls came in last night. Upon arrival we asked for extra appliances because we realised it was a developing fire.
"At that point there we had four appliances here very quickly."
"Following the tactical plan that was put in place by the incident commander to stop the spread of the fire to the adjoining business and premises."
"We also had three senior officers in attendance and one urban search and rescue tactical adviser because of the damage which had been caused to the building and we were concerned with the structural content of the building.
"Crews worked through the night and at 5.20am this morning the message was put in to say the fire was actually out.
"We've still got crews here at the moment to make sure there's no hot spots and to assist the fire investigation team with anything they need."
Mr Burdis added: "We are well aware of the impact this has on the local community. I'd like to thank the local community especially the local shops and the Salvation Army as they were a great help last night they assisted in providing welfare to our crews to see them through the night and that is greatly appreciated.
"I will ask the community to stay away from this area for the time being to allow us to do our jobs and get it open as quick as we can."
More than 30 firefighters were involved in bringing the fire at under control after it broke out in the clothes shop in Blandford Street at about 7pm.
Mr Burdis added: "There is slight smoke damage to other properties but through our firefighting ensured that this didn't spread any further reducing the damage to the community and other shop owners
"That is at the forefront of our mind to make sure that these businesses are able to open as quick as we can - we have the community at heart."