FIREFIGHTERS spent three hours tackling a huge blaze at a house and searched for people who may have been trapped inside.
The fire broke out at the mid-terraced house, in Station Road West, Trimdon Station, at 7.40pm last night and four fire engines from Peterlee, Wheatley Hill and Sedgefield Fire Stations rushed to the incident.
An aerial ladder platform from Durham was also used to rain water down onto the burning building.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus searched the property for those believed to have been inside.
But it was later discovered that they were in fact safe and well and were not inside the house.
As a precaution, firefighters went into adjoining properties to ensure the fire did not spread and cause even more damage.
The crews had quelled the flames by 10.05pm last night.
A joint police and fire investigation has been launched after reports of people seen near the property at the time the incident started.
Keith Wanley, duty group manager for County Durham Fire and Rescue, said: “When the crews arrived it was well alight.
“Neighbours had reported flames coming from the back of the property first and when we arrived the windows were gone.
“It had severely damaged the whole of the first floor, burning the windows and doors and plaster off the walls.
“The crews did particularly well bearing in mind the severity of the fire.”