Fire service boss reassures neighbours in Sunderland street after reports of 'gas explosion' at property

Seven fire crews were called to reports of a gas explosion and building collapse in a Sunderland street.

Sunday, 19th January 2020, 3:47 pm

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) told the Echo that its crews were called at 4.30pm on Saturday, January 18 to Ravensworth, Ryhope.

The call initially came in to the service as a gas explosion and building collapse, prompting a major incident response from its crews.

Three appliances attended the scene, with Northumbria Police and the North East Ambulance Service also dispatched to give support at the incident.

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Steve Thomas, TWFRS Station Manager, reassured the public that the house was “structurally safe” – and that the incident appears to have been caused by “gas build-up” inside the property.

He said on Saturday: “We expect to be at the scene for several more hours.

“The initial cause appears to be gas build-up in the leaves of the premises. Everybody else in the area is safe.”

Elizabeth Eccles, who has lived in the street for 20 years, said she has “never known” there to be any subsidence in the area.

Firefighters look on at the scene of Ravensworth, Ryhope.

She was at home at 4.30pm when she heard a “rumble” and learned of what had happened.

“A delivery man who was at the door said the wall had come down,” she said.

“We did not smell any gas or anything like that and there was no explosion. We just heard a rumble.

“There does not seem to be any damage to us at all.”

Fire crews were called to the scene at around 4.30pm on Saturday.

A spokeswoman from Northumbria Police confirmed that just one residential property was affected in the incident.

She added: “Nobody has been evacuated and there is no risk to anybody else.”

The fire service presence at the scene has now also been scaled back to one appliance.

A North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman confirmed that it sent two crews from its Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), as well as a clinical manager and an ambulance.

Emergency services on the scene in Ravensworth, Ryhope.

She said that one patient was treated for minor injuries and then discharged at the scene.

Kevin Brown, of Northern Gas Networks, was also in attendance and spoke to the Echo in the street.

He said that there were still “a few checks” to be carried out at the scene.

Only one property is understood to be affected.