A blaze which tore through bags of rubbish and spread to a nearby outhouse is believed to have been started on purpose.
Firefighters from Peterlee were called to the rear of Bourne Street in Easington Colliery at 4am today after the bags of waste caught light.
The heat and flames spread to the outhouse roof next to where the rubbish had been dumped.
The crew spent around 45 minutes putting out the yard fire with a hose reel.
The house connected to the yard is unoccupied.