Fire broke out after a man turned a cooker on and then left his home.
It happened at an address in Bude Square, Murton, shortly after 10pm on Sunday.
An elderly man is believed to have left the kitchen appliance turned on before going out.
Two crews, one from Seaham station and another from Murton, were called after reports of smoke emerged.
No-one was inside the house at the time the fire broke out.
Fire officer Kevin Hall said: “The occupant came back a few minutes after we had to go into the property through the front door.
“There wasn’t much damage apart from smoke and fumes.”