A fire broke out at Nkwelle Ezunaka, near Onitsha, on Saturday when a petrol tanker carrying petroleum products 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.
Our correspondent gathered that firefighters, who were deployed to the area, were chased back by an irate mob, who protested their arrival delay, attacking them with stones and other dangerous weapons.
The firefighters, 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 the poor attitude of some members of the society in appreciating the work of firefighters.
Agbili, while reacting to the attack on his men, said: “It is very unfortunate for the ugly actions of people towards firefighters and fire service.
“My men and the first fire trucks got to the fire scene of T-junction Nkwelle and people start throwing stones at them. People should understand that fire service is only coming to render help when there is fire outbreak and not the cause of the fire.”
He, however, said that police operative and members of the Nkwelle Ezunaka community vigilante were able to render assistance that helped the firefighters to return and do their job.
He added that two persons, who were involved in pelting his men had been arrested, while others have 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,” he said.