Firefighters were called to a Wearside crematorium for the second time in less than a week after a blaze in a filtration system.
Sixteen firefighters and four appliances were sent to Sunderland Crematorium, on Chester Road.
Services were not affected while the fire burned, with the blaze thought to have gone on for more than 24 hours.
The fire was in a drum used as a filtration unit, but firefighters were unable to access it as they could not cut through a 3mm steel construction.
Specialist equipment was called for to cut through it from Hebburn Fire Station, while firefighters from South Shields Fire Station and Farringdon also attended.
Trevor Smith, watch manager of Hebburn Fire Station, said: “We were there for an hour-and-a-half.
“It had been going on for a couple of days, from what I was made aware, as they had trouble getting into a filter system which filters the fire gases at the back of the crematorium.
“We have thermal arc cutting equipment, so we were called out.”
Mr Smith added: “There was a fire in there. It was a big cylinder-type construction made of steel, and it took our thermal arc to cut a huge panel out of it. We got in and extinguished it.
“All of their grinders and cutting equipment weren’t able to get through this 3mm steel construction.
“I believe the fire had been smouldering there for a couple of days. It had been going for some time.
“The filtration system interior needed to be accessed to put it out.”
The crematorium had been closed for a short time last Wednesday after a filter at the rear of the crematorium overheated.