A part of a branch of First Bank Plc located along New Market road Onitsha Anambra State was on Thursday razed by fire. All efforts to contact the branch manager of the bank to ascertain the cause of the fire incident failed but eyewitness account told our correspondent that the fire started from one of the two Lister plants supplying electricity to the bank.
The incident started at about 10:30 am in the morning and lasted for one hour. It took hundreds of traders and passer-by extra efforts to put off the fire before the arrival of the Delta state fire service to the scene of the incident.
At the time of filling this report armed security policemen, members of the civil defence corps, as well as members of Anambra State vigilante operatives are still at the bank engaging the angry youths numbering over 1000 from gaining entry into the bank to cart away money.
However, it was an unpleasant experience for the members of the fire service from the neighbouring Delta state narrowly escaped being lynched by the angry mob who felt they arrived the scene late.
Meanwhile, it was a tug of war for the police and other security agencies to disperse the surging crowd mostly youths who are demanding compensation from the bank management.
They are demanding that the bank must pay an unspecified sum of money for sacrificing their time and effort to save the bank.
Meanwhile, traders at the Main Market and passers-by have condemned the nonchalant attitude of the Anambra State Fire Service in fighting fire disaster.
According to them, they have failed severally in emergency fire incidents and rescue operations in most fire incidents that took place across the state, mostly in the markets.
It could be recalled that the Anambra State government in its wisdom had provided firefighting vehicles and boreholes in all the markets in the state to hand such emergency cases but on several occasion, they would not arrive the scene until the damage had been done. Areas mostly affected by the fire incident include the plant house and a nearby transformer.