There was pandemonium in Oyo town after an early morning fire razed larger part of the ancient Akesan market with men of the nearby fire service unable to contain it.
The situation reportedly got messier when youths unleashed anger on the fire service men, who attributed their inability to respond quickly to non-functional equipment.
According to THE NATION, the youths, in their hundreds, stormed the fire station, burning tyres in the process.
The situation, the report said, attracted attention of the security operatives who used live bullets on the protesters, killing three persons instantly.
To battle the raging inferno, a reinforcement of fire fighters has been mobilised from Ibadan, the capital city and Ogbomosho, which is about 50 kilometres away.
The medium reported that although sources could not give the exact identity of the security operatives who fired the shots that fell three of the protesting youths, operative of the state owned anti crime outfit, code-named ‘Operations Burst’ were fingered as suspects.
When contacted, the State Police Spokesman denied that the bullets of the police fell the protesters but that he would intensify investigation to unravel the culprit.
He assured that more men have been drafted to the scene to restore normalcy and help put out the fire completely.
Worried by the development, an Oyo town based youth group, Oyo Global Forum said a good part of the market would have been saved if the nearby fire station had functional equipment.
While condemning the government for not providing the necessary equipment for the fire fighters to work with, especially in the particular season, the group also kicked against what it described as disproportionate use of force in response to angry residents by the security operatives which led to the unfortunate death of three innocent protesters.
The cause of the fire, which was said to have started around 1am, remains unknown at press time.