Sunderland explosion: Woman hurt as house 'blown apart'

A woman has been taken to hospital following an explosion at a house in Sunderland.

Emergency services were called to an address in Rosslyn Avenue in Ryhope at about 08:50 BST.

Northumbria Police are asking people to stay away from the scene. The force said everyone has been accounted for and it is not linked to terrorism.

The North East Ambulance Service said the woman was rescued from the destroyed house suffering from burns.

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They said she was in a serious but stable condition and had been taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

The woman had been in her bathroom getting ready to go out when the explosion happened, the emergency services added.

Supt Steve Hartley, from Northumbria Police, said: “Thankfully she was OK and taken to a local hospital.”

Bill Forster, from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, added: “Initially the walls of the building had collapsed and the upper section of the building had come down.

“The lady was trapped beneath that rubble.”

Northern Gas Network engineers are also at the scene.

The company said it was “urgently” investigating the cause of the blast.

One house has been completely destroyed by the blast while a neighbouring property has been heavily damaged, with debris scattered across the road.

A 100ft (30m) cordon has been put in place to keep members of the public away.

A neighbour told BBC Newcastle all that is left of the house is “rubble”.

The woman, called Zara, said she heard a “very loud bang” and “the houses shook”.

She said she saw two houses following the explosion, one of which was “completely flattened” and the other “pretty much in half”.

The witness also described the chaotic scene with people “running all over, not knowing what to do”.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said they have sent five engines and a search dog to the scene, while the Great North Air Ambulance also attended.

A woman on a neighbouring street said half of the semi-detached house had been flattened by the explosion.

Tracey Pounder, 51, said she heard an “almighty bang”.

“I went upstairs and you could see dust rising,” she added.

“Half of the semi has gone and next door is wrecked.

“I came down to see what was happening and it is a complete shock.”

Sean Hughes, 40, said he heard the explosion over a mile away. He added: “I saw the window move and the house shook.”

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