Residents living in Rosslyn Avenue told of their shock at the devastating explosion.
People living in the street said the explosion was so loudf they thought there had been a bomb blast.
They then run from their properties and could see debris falling from the sky.
Former mayor of Sunderland Alan Emerson, who serves as a councillor for Ryhope, lives just two houses along from the buildings affected.
The 68-year-old said: “I was in the front room and all of a sudden it shook.
“I thought the roof was coming off and all I could see was debris everywhere.
“It’s hard to believe that this has happened.”
Mum of two Natalie Waterson, 24, was with her son Richy, three, and daughter, Ruby.
“I got out of the house as soon as I heard it,” she said.
“I thought it was a bomb and the instinct was to run.
“Stuff was still falling from the sky and I just kept going.
“I had no shoes on and there was glass all over but I had to get away.”
Scott Anderson, also a Rosslyn Avenue resident who lives eight doors away from the blast houses, was at home with daughter Layla, eight.
Scott, 35, said: “I was making my daughter’s breakfast when it happened.
“I thought my house was about to cave in it was that loud.
“I’m not surprised that someone has been injured.
“You never think this will happen on your doorstep and I just hope they are OK.
“It’s been horrendous but hopefully we’ll know exactly what happened soon.”
Mr Emerson said he has a big hole in his roof while his car, which had been parked on the drive, was badly damaged.
Alan, who lives with his 48-year-old son Steve, and their cat Sam, said: “My roof has a hole in it. The windscreen of my car is smashed, the roof has a huge dent in it and there are scratches everywhere. “We’ve been told some houses are structurally unsafe, but we don’t know which ones.
“Everybody around me will have the same concern, we just don’t know anything.”
He’s also hoping he will be able to retrieve Sam the cat soon.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t find him quick enough,” he added. “He’s in my son’s bedroom and he’s better off in the house anyway as he wouldn’t be able to go outside.”