A MAN has been taken to hospital with serious burn injuries after fire broke out in a paint factory.

Emergency services were called to the blaze at International Paint on the AkzoNobel site in Felling, Gateshead, just before 8am on Tuesday.

It is understood there was a report of an explosion before the fire started.

The company has confirmed that the site was evacuated and that a member of staff had suffered serious injuries.

The 49-year-old man is receiving medical treatment at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

A spokesperson for AkzoNobel said: “There was a fire at our Felling site at around 8am this morning.

“The site was evacuated and the incident was attended by the on-site emergency team and the emergency services and brought under control.

"Unfortunately, one of our colleagues has suffered serious burn injuries and after receiving first aid on site has been taken to hospital for treatment.

"There is no further risk on site and a full investigation into the incident has started.

"The site will be closed for the remainder of the day for investigations. Ongoing support will be provided to our colleague and his family.”

A spokesperson for North East Ambulance Service said the alarm was raised just before 8am.

The spokesperson added: “We were called at 7.58am to reports of a fire at AkzoNobel in Stoneygate Lane in Felling.

"We dispatched a double-crewed ambulance, a clinical care manager and four of our hazardous area response teams.

"A male patient was transported to the Royal Victoria Infirmary with injuries consistent with burns."

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters from Gateshead stations were sent to tackle the blaze.

Northumbria Police spokesperson is working with the Health and Safety Executive on an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

A spokesman for the force said: “At 8.25am today police were made aware of a suspected industrial accident on Stoneygate Lane, Gateshead.

“A 49-year-old male employee has been taken to hospital with serious injuries and his next of kin have been informed.

“Enquiries into the circumstances of the incident are ongoing with police working in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive.”