A huge fire has ripped through at auction house in Jarrow.
Forty-four firefighters and two officers have spent a number of hours tackling a blaze which took hold of Jarrow Auction Rooms in Bede Burn Road in the early hours of today.
Eleven appliances including an aerial ladder platform and a command unit were called to the blaze at 2:39am and three appliances remain on scene.
A number of police cordons were put up around the building and in surrounding streets while residents were told to remain in doors.
Large amounts of smoke could be seen billowing from the former church as firefighters battled with the flames which had engulfed the building.
It is thought the building has been completely destroyed in the blaze, which is understood to have started around 2am.
At 5.30am today, firefighters, who had brought the fire under control, were still putting out flames.
Coun Geraldine Kilgour, who lives in the area said: "It's just absolutely devastating.
"I really feel for the owner as he has spent a lot of time and money building this place up and only recently put new signs up. It's horrendous what's happened.
"You can see the roof has completely gone but the structure of the building still seems to be intact - it's horrific.
"People were being told by police to stay indoors because of the smoke.
"It must be devastating for the owner."
Coun Kilgour added: "The emergency services have been brilliant and you can't commend the fire crews enough.
"They were very quick at bringing it under control."
Northumbria Police are asking people to avoid the Bede Burn Road and the surrounding area.
They have confirmed that Bede Burn Road will be closed until around midday.