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Fire crews are tackling a blaze at a garage on an industrial estate in Darlington after reports of an explosion.
People took to social media websites after hearing a loud bang on the Cleveland Industrial Estate on the Forge Way.
A Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said: ``We currently have four fire appliances and one aerial ladder platform in attendance. ``This was a single storey premises, around 15m by 10m used for gas conversion for motor cars, well alight.''
A Durham Police spokeswoman said: ``It is believed that one person was hurt. ``Fire, ambulance, air ambulance and police are in attendance. ``The has been area cordoned off and could be for some time due to the presence of cylinders.''
The 63-year-old casualty was in a serious condition in the hospital's burns unit, the air ambulance spokesman said.
The fire beside the East Coast Main Line was causing delays of up to an hour to trains between Northallerton and Newcastle.