In a devastating incident, six lives, including those of three firefighters, were lost when a truck carrying 60 tons of liquefied natural gas crashed and exploded in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital. The catastrophic event unfolded on Wednesday morning, following a collision with a car that triggered a massive fire.
Hundreds of firefighters rushed to the scene, battling the inferno that quickly spread to nearby buildings. The collision, occurring just after 01:00 local time, shocked residents who initially likened the impact to an earthquake. Erdenebold Sukhbaatar, a 40-year-old lawyer, described the aftermath as a seismic event followed by a colossal explosion, reminiscent of “60,000 litres of huge liquid gas.”
Witnesses reported the fire engulfing multiple buildings rapidly, leaving residents with little time to react. One recounted how their front door was already ablaze when they realized their building was on fire, forcing them to escape through the back door. The force of the explosion shattered windows and destroyed balconies, leaving a trail of destruction.
Although Mongolia’s deputy prime minister, Sainbuyan Amarsaikhan, assured no casualties were reported from within the affected buildings, the tragedy unfolded when firefighters faced a second explosion. Part of the truck was propelled with immense force, resulting in the tragic loss of three firefighters’ lives.
Questions have surfaced regarding the transport of such hazardous cargo into a residential neighbourhood that houses numerous schools. Concerned citizens like Erdenebold Sukhbaatar and Ankhbayar Galbadrakh pointed out the potential for greater harm during peak hours, emphasizing flaws in city planning. Calls for restricting the movement of gas-laden trucks within city limits are gaining momentum as authorities investigate the circumstances leading to this heartbreaking incident.