LATEST: Inquiries continuing following reports of ground tremors in Washington which saw houses shaking and evacuations

Officials in Wearside are still investigating the possible cause of a series of tremors in Washington.

Workers at the Hertburn Industrial Estate, in Concord, described shaking blinds and “wobbly legs” after the incident hit yesterday (Wednesday, August 10).

More than 24 hours later, the cause and nature of the quake remains a mystery.

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But Sunderland City Council has confirmed it is continuing to probe the event, which saw the area briefly evacuated.

A spokesman for the local authority said: “The council is aware of the incident in the Concord area.

"It has not received any damage reports and inquiries are continuing.”

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The UK Coal Authority has said it is not aware of any incidents in the area relating to former pits, while the British Geological Survey claimed its seismic network had not recorded any activity.

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Tracey Crawford-Frey from Autofix Washington Ltd said the shutters on the building's blinds began to shake.

Engineers from Northern Powergrid also confirmed the tremors were not in relation to its network.

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People working on the estate said they began to “feel the earth move” at around 8am yesterday morning and reported the incident lasted for “several hours”.

Workmen Paul Marshall, 56, Steven Lisle, 62, and Alan Bowman, 58, were among the first to realise “something was happening” as they started work in the area.

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Alan said: “You could feel the ground shaking – my legs were wobbling on the road. It was like when a steam roller or train goes past and causes the ground to shake.

Workmen Steven Lisle, 62, and Alan Bowman, 58, described the tremor as 'scary'.
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"It was pretty scary as we didn’t know what was going on.”

Paul added: “You could actually here the ground rumbling but we didn’t know what it was.”

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Confused as to what was taking place, the workmen began to worry about what might happen.

Steven said: “We wondered had there been some type of gas build up underground, but we can take gas level readings and so we knew it wasn’t that. You begin to think about sink holes opening up or could it be some type of small earthquake. It was quite scary at the time.”

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As more an more people began to experience the tremor, people from the various workplaces came out onto the industrial estate’s road to see what was happening.

One of those was Tracey Crawford-Frey who works at Autofix Washington Ltd.

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Tracey said: “I took a call from the manager at Aztec Colour Print at the other end of the industrial estate. He asked if I had felt the shaking and said their building had been shaking.

"At that point I hadn’t felt anything, but as time went on the shutters on my blinds began to shake and the water bottle on my desk started to wobble.

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"It was as though whatever caused it had literally travelled right up the street. At the time I just thought it must have been some type of industrial work.”

The incident was attended by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, which confirmed employees were temporarily evacuated from workplaces.

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A spokesperson said: "[Yesterday], we received a call about ground tremors and houses shaking on Bridge Water Road, in Washington.

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"Crews from Washington and Birtley Community Fire Stations were on the scene in a matter of minutes and carried out an evacuation of the surrounding area as a precaution.

"We carried out a number of enquiries with partners about the ground tremors and what could have caused them.

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"However, we could not identify what had caused the initial shaking and it seemed to have stopped during our time at the scene.

"We were happy that there was no damage to any of the properties or surrounding area and residents have since been allowed to return to their homes.

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"Our crews left the scene at 10:22am with the incident left in the hands of the council and utility providers to carry out further enquiries."

A statement from Sunderland City Council added: “The council is aware of the incident in the Concord area. It has not received any damage reports and enquiries are continuing.”