The Federal Fire Service (FFS) has claimed that their firefighters were stopped from reaching the scene of the fire incident which occurred at Ochanja Market, Onitsha, Anambra State. The fire broke out after a tanker fell and spilt its content at the market.
Unfortunately, firefighters were not on ground on time to put it out. This led to a huge loss of goods and properties.
A statement issued by the spokesperson of the agency, Ugo Huan, reads:
”The Federal Fire Service received a call about the fire outbreak around 2.00 p. m.
“The control room at the headquarters in Abuja immediately turned out its nearest station at Asaba, Delta State, to attend to the fire.
“Our men immediately headed to the scene but it was not possible to contend with the heavy traffic at the Niger head bridge, coupled with the behaviour of an angry mob who pelted stones at them.
“Thus, it was not possible for the firefighters to get to the scene and fight the fire in such a hostile environment.”
According to reports, five persons died in the inferno, including a woman and a child.
The spokesman added that the FFS Controller General, Mr Liman Ibrahim, expressed condolence to the families of the victims.
“The Federal Fire Service is committed to ensuring the safety of lives and property, with the procurement of new state-of-the-art firefighting trucks distributed to the 12 zones of the service across the nation.
“The service is always ready to respond to fire outbreaks and other emergencies across the nation.
“It is worthy to note that similar situations in recent past in Sokoto, Uyo, Minna, Ibadan, Osun and Lagos were prevented from escalating to a major disaster by the Federal Fire Service.
“The case of Ochanja market was an unfortunate one, as one will wonder why individuals will want to attack firefighters that came to help put out fire that was threatening lives and ravaging property,” he said.
Huan added that “the service will like to use this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians that in as much as the fire service is prepared and committed to saving of lives and property in emergencies, their support and cooperation is highly needed to do that.”