ROKER EXPLOSION UPDATE: Watch as demolition work starts on flats hit by suspected gas blast

Demolition work has started on two flats destroyed by a suspected gas blast in Sunderland as an investigation into the explosion which left two people in hospital continues.

Emergency Services were called to a Gentoo owned property on Whickham Street at around 3.45pm on Tuesday (February 15) after what was suspected to be an explosion caused by a gas leak.

Two men were rescued from the scene, including one from inside the destroyed property, with what were initially described as not life threatening injuries. However, on Wednesday morning police said the condition of one of the men had deteriorated overnight.

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A digger is now at the scene to demolish the flats from which the explosion originated.

A statement from Gentoo’s Press Office said: “There is one machine at the street to take down only the two flats which were affected by the explosion. This is being carried out to help the Health and Safety Executive with their investigation.”

Yesterday (February 16) engineers from Northern Gas Networks (NGN) were at the scene along with representatives from Gentoo as they carried out investigations looking to confirm the cause of the blast and the extent of the damage.

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NGN were called to the incident at the “request of the Emergency Services”.

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The two flats where the blast took place are in the process of being demolished.

Despite being three days into the investigation there is still no confirmation as to the cause of the blast.

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Today an updated statement from NGN said: “Our teams left site yesterday afternoon as our role in the investigation is over. It wouldn’t be appropriate to speculate on the cause at this time.”

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The cause of the explosion in Roker is still being investigated.
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He said: "Unfortunately at the moment we are no further forward regarding the cause if the blast. There’s obviously speculation it was a gas explosion but it would be unfair to say anymore at this time as we literally don’t know.”

This morning, Gentoo said: “The Health and Safety Executive are continuing with their investigation and we are assisting them.”

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Northumbria Police have also confirmed the man whose condition had “deteriorated” still remains in a “critical but stable condition”.

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Northern Gas Networks' engineers at the scene along with the police as investigations continue to confirm the cause of the explosion.

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Morning after an explosion on Whickham Street, Roker.
Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Gentoo Group, believes it would still be "unfair" to speculate as to the cause of the blast.