In Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, a horrifying incident unfolded when a truck carrying 60 tons of liquefied natural gas crashed and exploded, resulting in six casualties, including three firefighters.
The collision occurred in the early hours of Wednesday morning, prompting a massive response from hundreds of firefighters to combat the ensuing blaze.
Eyewitness Erdenebold Sukhbaatar, a 40-year-old lawyer, described the impact as feeling like an earthquake, followed by a brilliant light.
The force of the explosion, equivalent to 60,000 liters of gas, quickly ignited nearby buildings, leaving residents in a state of shock.
Residents recounted the rapid escalation of the fire, with one person mentioning how their building was already engulfed in flames by the time they realized it.
Another survivor shared that the explosion not only shattered windows but also destroyed balconies.
Despite the tragedy, the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) reported that no casualties occurred within the affected buildings.
However, Deputy Prime Minister Sainbuyan Amarsaikhan revealed that the three firefighters lost their lives in a second explosion, caused by the forceful ejection of part of the truck.
NEMA confirmed that the fire was extinguished by 04:30, but questions arose about why a tanker carrying such hazardous cargo was allowed into a residential area with numerous schools.
Concerns were raised about the lack of proper city planning, with calls for gas trucks to be restricted from traveling within city limits to prevent potential harm during peak hours.
“You know, if it happened [in] the daylight time, especially during the rush hours in the morning or in the evening, [it would] be more harmful,” noted Erdenebold Sukhbaatar, emphasizing the critical need for improved urban planning.
Ankhbayar Galbadrakh echoed these sentiments, stating, “All of these trucks – with gas or without gas – should travel outside of the city limit,” highlighting the urgent need for safety measures to prevent such devastating incidents in the future.