[P]olice are investigating an explosion at a property in Darlington.
The incident happened on Wordsworth Road at around 6.20pm last night.
The windows of the affected property were blown out in the blast.
Chief Inspector Sue Robinson of Durham Constabulary, said: “One man remains in a critical condition in hospital and our thoughts are with him.
“Three fire appliances, police and ambulance all attended the scene.
“Our forensic teams have been inside the address and work will continue alongside our fire colleagues to establish what happened to cause the fire.
“Six people were evacuated from nearby houses.
“An investigation is underway and we are working with our colleagues at County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service to establish the cause.
“A police cordon is still in place and will remain there for the foreseeable future.
“We would urge anyone who has not already spoken to police who thinks they may have information to come forward.
“We would like to thank local residents for their cooperation.”
Anyone with any information in relation to the incident is asked to call Durham Constabulary on 101 quoting reference 371 of February 19.