A WOMAN remains in hospital suffering from serious injuries after a gas explosion destroyed her home as she was getting ready in the bathroom.

The mother, who was home alone at the time, was pulled from the rubble by emergency staff who were confronted by the devastating scene in Ryhope, Sunderland, on Friday morning.

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The house in Rosslyn Avenue was almost completely destroyed in the blast, while the adjoining semi-detached house was also badly damaged by the explosion at around 8.48am

Paramedics, firefighters and police rushed to the scene while gas engineers were also on site to investigate the cause of the explosion.

The woman, believed to be in her 40s, was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle, suffering from burns and was in a "serious but stable" condition, emergency services said.

Northumbria Police has confirmed the cause as a gas explosion with no third party involvement.

One of the woman’s neighbours, who was one of the first people at the scene, said: “It was a massive bang and everything got sucked in - it was like a pressure going through the whole house.

"I phoned 999 as I was running down there. Me and another man ran round the back. It was a mess, it was like a demolition site. It was awful."

She added: "All the residents have stuck together and been amazing. Within five minutes the services were there. I was still on the phone when they turned up.”

Within hours of the explosion an online Justgiving site was set up to raise money for the family, reaching it's target of £500 within a couple of hours.

Superintendent Steve Heatley, of Northumbria Police, said: “A lady was taken out of the property and has been taken to a local hospital where her condition is serious but stable. Thankfully everyone has been accounted for.

"It’s an awful incident that happened at 8.50am when people were having their breakfast and getting ready for work.

"The house does look in a state of disrepair it does look like both houses would be pulled down at some stage."

Yesterday evening diggers were on the site to begin the demolition.

A police spokesman confirmed the incident occurred as a result of a gas explosion.

He added: "The gas supply has now been capped and made safe.

"Work is on-going to secure the site and as such there is still a cordon in place.

"Emergency services and local authorities are working tirelessly to allow residents to return to their homes as quickly as possible."

A spokesperson for Northern Gas Networks said emergency engineers attended the scene and were investigation as a "matter of urgency".

One Facebook user claimed her sister had been airlifted to hospital from the property and was "conscious and talking", adding that the victim's daughter was not at home at the time.

In a post on a local community group, she said: "There must be a God somewhere, how the hell can anyone survive that explosion."

The North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman said one casualty was taken to hospital in a serious but stable condition.

She said: "We were called to the Rosslyn Avenue area of Ryhope at 8.48am this morning.

"We dispatched our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) and two officers and requested support from Great North Air Ambulance (GNAAS).

"Working with our emergency service colleagues we rescued and treated one patient, suffering burns who was in a serious but stable condition."

Bill Forster, from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, said the explosion had come from within the building. He said: "It's a very devastating view. My heart goes out to people involved."

He added: "The walls of the building have collapsed and the upper sections of the building have come down and the lady was trapped beneath that rubble.

"The building remains in some considerable state of collapse. That’s going to make any physical investigation very hazardous."

Graham Gowland, executive director of property at Gentoo Group, which owns both properties affected, said: "The safety of our residents is paramount and we have staff at the scene offering support.

"We are doing everything that we can and are working closely with the emergency services and all other parties involved whilst investigations are underway."

Tracey Pounder, 51, who lives on a neighbouring street, said: "I heard an almighty bang.

"I went upstairs and you could see dust rising.

"Soon after there were sirens. The response was fantastic.

"Half of the semi has gone and next door is wrecked.

"I came down to see what was happening and it is a complete shock."

Sean Hughes, 40, heard the explosion over a mile away.

He said: "I saw the window move and the house shook."

A woman, who was working nearby at the time, said: “It was the loudest thing I’ve ever heard. The whole building shook. I thought someone had crashed into next door.

When I came out I could see what looked like smoke and people were running down. When I walked down I saw the house was gone.”