DETECTIVES are investigating a suspected arson attack at a flat.
The blaze broke out in the hallway of the flat in Hylton Court, Oxclose, shortly before 10pm on Friday.
A total of 12 firefighters from Washington, Hebburn and Gateshead stations spent almost two hours tackling the blaze.
They used six sets of breathing apparatus and two hose reels to fight the fire, which was put out shortly after they arrived.
They went on to search the ground-floor flat and the rest of the building, as it was feared someone was trapped.
A man in his 20s, who lives in the property, was found unhurt in a nearby flat.
Police are treating the cause of the fire as suspicious and investigations are ongoing.
Anyone with information should phone police on 101.