Residents were rescued by fire crews as a blaze tore through the stairwell of their flats in South Shields.
Twenty fire fighters from South Shields, Hebburn and Wallsend fire stations were called to the blaze on Green Lane, South Shields at 9.57pm on Friday night.
The fire was located on the main stairwell leading to the landing of the two storey property which is made up of a shop and two flats.
A 39-year-old man in the first flat climbed through the first floor window before dropping to the floor to escape the blaze.
A 58-year-old woman from the same flat was rescued by fire crews who used a ladder to help her through the window.
Two residents on the second flat -a woman aged 50 and a man aged 52- were led to safety by crews down the stair well.
Crews used one hose reel jet, four breathing apparatus and one positive pressure ventilator to put out the blaze.
No one was injured.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.