An explosion at an industrial unit left a man seriously injured and caused the East Coast Main Line to shut, the fire service said today.
The 63-year-old casualty was flown from the scene at Darlington's Cleveland Industrial Estate to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle suffering burns to his arms and face.
Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service said the premises in Forge Way are used to convert cars to use liquid petroleum gas, and a tank may have exploded.
Five fire crews attended after the 1pm call-out and they reported the garage was well alight.
Businesses up to 200m from the blaze were evacuated, and trains using the busy line between Northallerton and Newcastle - which include services linking London and Edinburgh - were stopped as a precaution due to the proximity of the tracks.
Propane and oxyacetylene cylinders were believed to have been involved in the explosion, the fire service said.
"Police, fire, ambulance and Darlington Borough Council are working together to minimise the disruption to the community and ensure everyone is safe," the spokeswoman said.
The injured man was flown by the Great North Air Ambulance to the burns unit in Newcastle, where he is in a serious condition.