An arson attack in Ashington in the early hours of Tuesday left two occupants of a house needing hospital treatment.
At 3.08am police received a report of a fire at an address in Portia Street.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service attended and the occupants were brought out of the house safely but were taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.
Neighbouring properties either side were also evacuated as a precaution.
Fire investigators are working to establish the cause of the fire, but initial enquiries suggest it was started when a wheelie bin next to the property was set on fire causing a window of the house to ignite.
Police think the wheelie bin was set ablaze deliberately and officers are treating the incident as arson.
Ashington Neighbourhood Inspector Barrie Joisce said: “This was a distressing incident for the occupants of the house.
“Extra officers will be in the area to both reassure residents and to carry out enquiries into the fire and make sure those who are responsible are apprehended.”
The two people who were taken to hospital following the fire have since been discharged.
Officers are appealing for anyone who may have any information about who is responsible to contact them on 101 ext 69191 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.