THREE flats were badly damaged when the top floor one sprung a leak.
Firefighters were called to Rekendyke Mews at 8.45pm last night when neighbours heard gushing water.
The flat on the second floor had sprung a severe leak in the kitchen and the water had flowed down into the first floor flat and then the ground floor one.
Crew manager John Winter, from South Shields station, said none of the occupiers were in the Laygate flats at the time and he believes the water could have been leaking for about half an hour before nearby flat owners heard it.
The ground floor flat took the brunt of the leak with the ceiling in the living room collapsing. But, both flats under the leak suffered water damaged and the carpets had to be taken up.
He said: “It was a big leak. All we could do was put the flats back into a bit of order. They were lovely flats as well.”
A specialised vehicle was called to pump out all the water and by the time firefighters left the scene at 10.50pm the occupiers had not returned to see the state of their homes.
The incident is not being treated as suspicious.