Fire investigators say blaze which ripped through West Boldon car parts business was started accidentally
Investigators say they are satisfied a fire which devastated a West Boldon business and nearby houses is not suspicious.
Flames tore through motor parts supplier Wrightway Car Parts, in Newcastle Road, last Sunday night, spreading to two adjoining homes.
The blaze broke out at 8.20pm at the business in Rectory Terrace.
Staff at a nearby beauty salon, Blush & Blow, rang 999 after spotting smoke coming from the premises, then called again minutes later as gas cylinders stored in the property began exploding.
Police cordoned off the main A184 through the village, from the BMW garage to the junction of the Red Lion pub, to keep passers-by and traffic safe.
Neighbouring properties, including three houses and the Red Lion, were evacuated and a 100m cordon was put in place as dozens of firefighters fought the flames.
At the height of the fire, exploding gas cylinders landed in the gardens of neighbouring properties.
The busy A184 was closed for hours as firecrews fought to make the area safe..
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Mr Wright, who has operated his business from the site for around 30 years, said he did not know what had caused the fire to start.
He insisted no work was ongoing and that five gas canisters, used for heating and the operation of a forklift truck, were carefully stored at the rear.
More than 40 firefighters tackled the blaze which took more than six hours to bring under control and extinguish.
Fire investigation teams and crime scene investigation units attended as soon as it was safe to do so and have carried out a thorough investigation to establish the cause of the blaze.
Now both Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and Northumbria Police have confirmed they are satisfied the fire was not started deliberately.
A police spokesperson said: "We are satisfied that no criminal activity has taken place," while the fire service confirmed: " After a fire investigation, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service believes the cause of the fire to be accidental."
Video: Anthony Brew