Residents had to be evacuated from their homes after a suspected stolen car crashed into a property and hit several gas meters.
A manhunt has now been launched to catch the occupants of the vehicle who ran off after the collision.
Durham Police were called at around 4.30am this morning to Ninth Street, Blackhall Colliery, following the incident.
Officers evacuated people as a precaution, but residents have since returned to their homes.
A police spokeswoman said: "The Vauxhall Corsa involved in the incident is believed to have been stolen and the occupants ran off following the collision.
"Anyone who witnessed the collision is asked to contact Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting incident number 27 of March 26."
A 45-year-old woman who lives in the street, described how she had to leave her home following the incident.
She said: "We were asleep and we just heard a bang and my partner went downstairs and couldn't see anything so he looked out the door and could see a car had smashed into the gas boxes and all the pipes were sticking out from the wall.
"We all got evacuated by the police. We just stood at the bottom of the street and the police brought a van for the elderly and the kids to sit in.
"We were out for about two hours until they came and isolated the gas supply.
"Now we don't have any gas coming into the house.
"It was worse for one girl who has a little baby.
"About six houses are affected.
"One car had a scrape down the side, but the other is totally ruined.
"It's lucky it didn't go up."
People with information should ring Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting incident number 27 of March 26.