FIREFIGHTERS believe a washing machine sparked a kitchen blaze.
Hartlepool firefighters rushed to the house in High Street, Greatham, at around 12pm yesterday.
The people who live in the house were out at the time and the brigade was alerted by a passer-by.
Andy Robinson, watch manager at Stranton Fire Station, said: “It was quite an intense fire.
“It had burned through from the kitchen, through the ceiling and into the back bedroom.
“There was severe damage to the kitchen and heavy smoke logging to the rest of the house.”
Four firefighters wearing breathing masks put the fire out.
They spent almost four hours at the scene.