Firefighters made a search of a house after fears the owner could still be inside when a fire broke out in its hallway.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service crews from Washington and Birtley were sent to the two-storey house in the Coach Road Estate in Usworth, Washington.
The fire broke out in the passageway, leaving a multi-plug, hall and stairway wrecked by the heat.
Other areas of the house, including the rear bedroom, bathroom and living room, were also badly damaged by fire, while other parts were damaged by smoke.
A spokesman for the service said: "Information was received stating that there may be an occupier still in the property.
"However, following a through search, no persons were found."
Four officers wearing breathing apparatus were sent in to the house, with two hose reels used to put out the fire.
A fan was then used to clear the house of smoke.
The incident happened shortly before 1pm yesterday.