A WITNESS has told how the windows of a house on fire blew out as emergency services rushed to the scene.
The blaze at the house in Westbourne Street, Stockton, is currently being dealt with by Cleveland Fire Brigade.
It is thought to have been unoccupied.
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The fire broke out around 9.30pm.
Police and ambulance are also on the scene.
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Fire Brigade said: "The crews are still in attendance. There is a house on fire and there are four breathing apparatus and and two hose reels in use."
Northern Echo reader, Stuart Hincks was there as the fire took hold.
"I was walking along Yarm Lane and I saw a load of smoke so I thought I would go and have a bit of a nosey. As I ran a bit closer, down Shaftesbury Street, which is opposite the house on fire, the whole thing blew out," he said.
"Flames were billowing out the house. I have never sworn so loud in my life.
"I was about 20 metres away when it happened. There were just a couple of other people in the street watching and the next thing the house just blew out.
"It is a boarded up property. The two sides of the bay window literally just blew out."
Within minutes the emergency services arrived. Mr Hincks said it appeared the fire was under control now.
"They had to break down the house next door to see if anybody was living in it. It looked like someone was, but no one was there at the time," he said.
Later, the fire and rescue spokeswoman added that the house was a three-storey property and the ground floor had been seriously damaged in the blaze. The rest of the property was smoke damaged.