Residents have spoken of their shock after a huge fire tore through a garage building and homes next to it.
The blaze broke out at motor parts supplier Wrightway Car Parts, in Newcastle Road, at 8.20pm last yesterday.
It is believed several neighbouring homes and the Red Lion pub in the area were evacuated as nine fire crews tackled the inferno.
Police set up a cordon about 100 metres from the garage to keep people away from the scene of the blaze.
The garage site is believed to have stored gas cylinders.
Read more: Fire crews remain on scene after huge garage blaze in West Boldon following series of explosions
Those living close to where the fire broke out have described what they saw.
Cynthia Robson, 72, who lives nearby said: "It was like a raging inferno.
"It was one blast and then another and then another.
"Even an hour and a half later there was another huge explosion.
"The fire brigade and the police were here very very quickly.
"There was a fire ball that shot into the air really high up. You would think it was like an aeroplane exploding in the sky.
"The whole lot is gone, it's sad to see. It's terrible."
"I came out again at around 11.30pm and it was all red .
"When we first heard the explosions it was almost like an earthquake.
"It was like nothing else I've ever seen.".
Derek Richards, 58, said: "I was in the Red Lion pub and we were all evacuated.
"We were stood watching the blaze and there was a few huge explosions in a row and we decided to head home.
"They seemed to get it under control and then the hoses just went off.
"It took about 10 minutes to get them back on again and in that time the flames just took over.
"The flames were as high as the trees if not higher.
"I live up by the water tower and you could see the smoke and the flames.
"You must have been able to see it for miles."
Fire officers remain on the scene today although the fire has long since been extinguished.