The fire which broke out on Tuesday afternoon at the 24-story Shangri-La Hotel proved the urgent need to improve the resources of fire departments in Ulaanbaatar.
It took nearly 40 firefighters almost two hours to extinguish the fire, using six fire trucks lacking ladders tall enough to reach the higher floors of the building.
There were 23 people stuck on the roof of the building and fire fighters helped them exit the building safely. No injuries were reported.
The building’s seventh floor is believed to be where the fire began, which quickly spread to other floors, leaving most of the building’s facade burnt.
“The fire was caused by electrical problems according to a preliminary investigation. Firefighters couldn’t reach the top floors, as our fire truck tower ladders are only 35 meters tall and could only reach the 12th floor with high-pressure water hoses,” T.Dulamdorj, Chief of National Emergency Management Agency, told journalists at the scene.
“The city administration should definitely take this issue into consideration and secure helicopters for fires occurring in tall buildings similar to this, as this case clearly proved a shortage of required facilities and equipment for a city with a growing number of tall buildings,” added the chief.
The building was at 80 percent completion and scheduled to open in December. However, Chief Dulamdorj suggested that the material used for the facade was very flammable and caused the fire to spread quickly. He assured that information will be provided about whether or not the material had passed the standard tests required by local emergency and safety organizations.
A final assessment of the fire will be provided within five business days according to Chief Dulamdorj.