The Federal Fire Service FFS has expressed sadness over the loss of lives and property during Wednesday’s fire outbreak at Ochanja Market in Onitsha, Anambra state, saying its men was stopped by a mob who pelted its firefighters with stones and equally blocked the road.
Controller General of the Federal Fire Service, Liman Ibrahim Alhaji who disclosed this in a statement issued by Service Public Relations Officer, DSF Ugo Huan said the nearest fire station to the scene of the inferno is in Asaba, Delta state.
“The Federal Fire Service received a call about the fire outbreak at about 2 pm. The control room at the headquarters in Abuja immediately turned out the nearest Federal Fire Service 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 head bridge and behaviour of 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”, said the CGF.
While he expressed his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved and those who lost property in the incident, the CGF said the Federal Fire Service is committed to ensuring the safety of lives and property.
He said; “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 and 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 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 the fire that was threatening lives and ravaging property.
“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. We remain committed to our mandate of saving lives and property of Nigerians and others residing in Nigeria”, he added.