Fire crews tackle Whitley Bay disused church blaze
More than 30 firefighters spent four hours tackling a blaze at a church in a seaside town.
Residents living near the disused Trinity United Reform Church on the Esplanade in Whitley Bay were forced to leave their homes after the fire broke out at 20:25 BST on Saturday.
Several are still in a refuge centre and have not been allowed home.
Northumbria Police said the fire was being treated as arson and a man, aged 56, had been arrested.
Det Ins Jane Fairlamb said: "This was a large operation involving a number of partners, all agencies worked together to extinguish the fire and I want to personally thank all of them for their hard work in ensuring that it did not spread to neighbouring properties.
"The fire was successfully extinguished overnight, but a number of people have been housed in temporary accommodation while we carry out some further structural investigations."