AN elderly man was rushed to hospital after a fire broke out while a freezer was being defrosted with a candle.
Thirteen firefighters were sent to the blaze at a semi-detached bungalow in Clovelly Road, Hylton Castle.
Investigators said they understood the fire was started by an “unattended candle” left in the freezer.
The occupant, who was out of the property when emergency services arrived at the scene, was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital suffering from heavy smoke inhalation.
His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
He was alerted to the blaze, which was reported shortly before 7pm yesterday, by a smoke alarm.
A spokesman for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: “The cause of the fire was an unattended candle placed in a freezer to defrost the ice, which ignited the plastic. There was severe fire damage to the kitchen and the hallway. The rest of the property was severely smoke damaged.”