Woman `conscious and breathing┬┤ after house flattened by massive blast

Huge explosion in Sunderland: 'House totally collapsed'

But her sister, Tracy Tia Judson, said that Shepherd avoided more serious injury thanks to her fridge.

A woman pulled from the rubble of her home after a gas blast survived because a fridge fell on her, her sister has said.

On Twitter Northumbria Police said: "There is nothing to indicate at this time that this is linked to terrorism".

Police say emergency services and local authorities are "working tirelessly" to allow residents to return to their homes as quickly as possible.

Northumberland Police and the ambulance service were called to the Rosslyn Avenue scene, in Ryhope, around 8.50am.

She posted on Facebook "there must be a god somewhere" following the catastrophic blast which toppled her home.

The company said it was "urgently" investigating the cause of the blast.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said they have sent five engines and a search dog to the scene, while the Great North Air Ambulance also attended.

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Neighbour Tracey Pounder said: 'I heard an almighty bang.

Bill Forster, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: "The walls of the building have collapsed and the upper sections of the building have come down and the lady was trapped beneath that rubble".

"I went upstairs and you could see dust rising", she added.

Northern Gas Network engineers are also at the scene.

'Half of the semi has gone and next door is wrecked.

Sean Hughes, 40, heard the explosion over a mile away.

One tweeted: "Right so it's just sounded like a bomb has exploded in ryhope; house literally shook".

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