By Ikeugonna Eleke
Fire broke out at Nkwelle Ezunaka, near Onitsha, Saturday, October 1, when a petrol tanker carrying petroleum product fell into a ditch.
A source said the tanker driver lost control and fell into a ditch, spilling its content, resulting in a massive outbreak of fire in the area.
Residents of the area reportedly fled their homes for fear of being engulfed in the flame during the outbreak of the fire.
Fides gathered that fire fighters who were deployed to the area were chased back by an irate mob who protested their delay in arrival, attacking them with stones and other dangerous weapons.
The fire fighters, who feared for their lives, made a U-turn and left the area for fear of their equipment being destroyed too.
Meanwhile, the fire chief, Anambra State Fire Service, Mr Martin Agbili, has lamented what he described as the poor attitude of some members of society in appreciating the work of fire fighters.
Agbili, while reacting to the attack on his men, said the action of the people was unfortunate.
‘My men and the first fire trucks got to the fire scene of the T-Junction, Nkwelle, and people started throwing stones at them. People should understand that the Fire Service is only coming to render help when there is fire outbreak and not the cause of the fire,’ Agbili said.
He however said that police operatives and members of Nkwelle Ezunaka Community vigilante were able to render assistance that helped the fire fighters to return and do their job.
The fire chief added that two persons who were involved in pelting stones at his men had been arrested, while others fled.
‘Having engaged the Nigeria Police Force and the vigilante, two persons among those that threw stones on my men have been arrested and some identified ones are still on the run.
‘The team of Nigeria Police and local vigilante led my men back to the fire scene. Our firefighters and fire trucks are back to the fire scene again to complete the fire fighting operation and finally the fire has been controlled.