The roof of a North East pub was left devastated after a ferocious fire ripped through the building in the early hours of this morning. 

Senior officers at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have praised the work of those involved in an early-hours response to the fire.

The service's fire control first received a call at 00.42am on Wednesday morning reporting smoke billowing from the disused Cavalier pub on Silksworth Lane in Sunderland.

The Northern Echo:

The first crews were on the scene in just four of minutes and discovered the building was well alight.

Recognising the significant size of the fire, a number of further appliances were quickly mobilised to the scene to tackle the blaze.

In total TWFRS deployed six appliances, a command unit, an aerial ladder platform, and 34 firefighters.

The Northern Echo: Firefighters tackle the pub blazeFirefighters tackle the pub blaze (Image: TWFRS)

Today (Wednesday) Deputy Chief Fire Officer Stewart Nicholson has praised the firefighters, fire control team and support staff involved.

He said: "This was a substantial fire that spread quickly throughout the building so it was important that we acted quickly.

“As always our outstanding fire control team and firefighters worked tirelessly through the night together to extinguish the blaze.

"Our priority was to ensure the fire didn't spread to the nearby woodlands.  

“Enquiries to determine the circumstances surrounding the fire are ongoing and a joint investigation with Northumbria Police is already underway.

“I want to say a huge well done to everyone involved in last night’s response; it was a long night with the darkness and freezing temperatures meaning tackling the fire was even more difficult.”

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Cllr Phil Tye, chairperson of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “This was a fantastic response from the fire and rescue service who were on scene in just four minutes of the call.

“Fires like this do have a devastating impact on communities but this response is another demonstration of how the Service continues to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies across the region.

“We hope that the response offers reassurances to residents across Silksworth and I will continue to work closely with the Executive Leadership Team to ensure they continue to deliver an outstanding service to communities across Tyne and Wear.”

Emergency services have since left the scene of the incident and a cordon is currently in place but, despite early enquiries, the cause of the fire remains unknown.