Police investigation launched into suspected gas explosion at former Houghton Snooker Club
Police and gas engineers are continuing to investigate a suspected gas explosion in Houghton.
At around 12.05am on Monday, December 16, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue service received a call with reports of a fire on Newbottle Street in Houghton.
Crews from Rainton Bridge and Farringdon fire stations were sent to the scene located at the Houghton Snooker Club building on the road, where Houghton Boxing Fitness is now based.
The explosion appears to have torn down walls and part of the roof of the building.
Firefighters left the scene at around 1.30am as the building was cordoned off on one side and a police investigation has been launched.
A spokesperson for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue service said: “Thankfully no one was injured. Crews left the incident in the hands of a gas and structural engineer.”
Engineers from Northern Gas Networks have been working at the scene and said the explosion has not affected any other part of the gas network.
They said: “The incident has not been caused by any issues with our gas distribution network; however, our engineers remain on site, supporting the emergency services with their investigations.”
A nearby resident told us that she hopes the business can be up and running again soon. She said: "Was it just one of those freak things? The main thing is that no one was injured. I hope they're insured and can continue to trade because you don't want an empty building.
"We didn't hear it as we’re a bit further up the hill.
“We don't want empty buildings particularly in a small village.
Shoppers began to notice the destruction caused.
A man who was out shopping said: "It's very unlucky. It's terrible. I bet it's the worst thing in the world for them especially at this time of the year.
"My heart goes out to them. People will be gutted. These terrible things happen mind."
An investigation is ongoing into the cause of the explosion.
Anyone with information is asked to contact 101 quoting reference number 13 161219 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.