Chronicle Live has reported that the blast happened at a new building site at Durham’s old passport office. Separate footage showed a motorist driving towards huge clouds of smoke spreading out across a road.
So far five fire crews are at the scene of fire at the Milburngate development in Durham City.
Firefighters from Durham, Spennymoor, High Handenhold and Newton Aycliffe were dispatched just after 2pm, a fire service statement confirmed.
Patricia Grace King tweeted: “Traffic is backed all the way up Albert Street. Avoid the town centre if you can.”
Philip West commented: “That video from the riverside in Durham, of what is apparently a gas explosion, looks absolutely horrendous.
“Seriously hope nobody was injured!”
Peter Wood posted: “Milburngate construction site is on fire.”
There are also suggestions that the fire is centres on a new hotel which is being constructed on the site, possibly a Premier Inn.
Arriva North East tweeted: “Service update. Durham City Centre. Due to Milburngate being closed because of a fire. Services will pick up as follows:-
“Wharton Park(North Road) Services 61, 62, 64 and X12.
“Sutton Street – all other Arriva services.”
Express.co.uk has contacted County Durham & Darlington Fire & Rescue Service for more details.
(More to follow)