A branch of one of the major banks in Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of Anambra State, was gutted by fire on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.
An eye witness told our correspondent that the fire started from one of the two electricity generating plants of the bank.
The incident started at about 10:30am in the morning and lasted for an hour.
It took hundreds of traders and passers-by as well as extra efforts to contain the fire, before the arrival of the Delta State Fire fighters to the scene.
It was gathered that armed security men – police, members of the Civil Defence Corps, as well as members of Anambra State Vigilance Group had taken positions to stop people from entering the premises.
It was gather also some angry youths numbering no fewer than 1,000, who tried to forcefully gain entry into bank, were kept at bay by security personnel.
They had apparently wanted to gain entry into the bank to cart away money.
However, it was an unpleasant experience as some members of the fire service from the neighbouring Delta narrowly escaped being lynched by the angry mob, who felt they arrived late at the scene.
Meanwhile, the police and other security agencies faced difficulty in containing the surging crowed, mainly youths who were demanding compensation from the bank’s management.
They demanded unspecified sum of money for sacrificing their time and effort to extinguish the fire.
Meanwhile, traders at the Onitsha Main Market and passers-by have condemned the nonchalant attitude of the Anambra State Fire Service in fighting fire.
The Anambra State government had provided fire fighting vehicles and boreholes in all the markets in the state to handle such emergency cases but on several occasion, they would not arrive at the scene until the damage had been done.
Areas mostly affected by the fire incident include: the plant house and a nearby transformer
Stories by John Ndu,