Sunderland explosion: Firefighters risked their lives to save mum

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Firefighters put themselves at risk to help those involved in the Ryhope gas explosion, says the officer in charge of the rescue operation.

Crews were called out to Rosslyn Avenue just before 9am today following the incident.

Bill Forster, group manager at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

Bill Forster, group manager at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

Five appliances and an urban search and rescue team were sent to the scene, and found one woman trapped in her home.

Bill Forster, group manager at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: "On arrival it became apparent that lives may be at risk within the property and we mobilised in accordance with that.

"Crews were able to gain access to the rear of the property very quickly, at some risk to the themselves it has to be said.

"They were able to identify the location of a female, and with the aid of a police officer they were able to rescue her from the property."

Mr Forster added that there was information that other people were at risk, but they were found quickly.

"There is no doubt about it that crews were working in quite a hazardous area in the very early stages of the incident and all credit to them."

Fire officers have now scaled down their work at the scene .

"There has been a risk of collapse throughout the operation," added Mr Forster. "Gas supplies are being isolated and so are electricity supplies too.

"We are waiting until the gas leak has been secured and now have one appliance left at the scene."