Fears for householder after blaze leaves home badly damaged
Firefighters made a search of a house after fears the owner could still be inside when a fire broke out in its hallway.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service crews from Washington and Birtley were sent to the two-storey house in the Coach Road Estate in Usworth, Washington.
The fire broke out in the passageway, leaving a multi-plug, hall and stairway wrecked by the heat.
A spokesman for the service said: "Information was received stating that there may be an occupier still in the property.
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"However, following a through search, no persons were found."
Four officers wearing breathing apparatus were sent in to the house, with two hose reels used to put out the fire.
A fan was then used to clear the house of smoke.
The incident happened shortly before 1pm yesterday.