The accident occurred at 6:18 a.m. PST (01:18 UTC) on Main Line 1 in Liaquatpur tehsil, Rahim Yar Khan district, Punjab aboard the Tezgam express passenger train. Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, the Pakistani Federal Minister for Railways, reported that two gas stoves exploded, setting the train on fire. Other reports, though, along with survivors' testimonies, suggested an electrical problem was the cause of the fire. The train was carrying 933 people, 207 of whom were in the three carriages that were gutted.
Ten fire engines were dispatched to the scene of the fire  and Pakistani Army troops assisted in the rescue operation. The most severely injured were taken to Bahawal Victoria Hospital in Bahawalpur and Nishtar Hospital in Multan. Those with less severe wounds were treated at DHQ hospital in Liaquatpur and Shaikh Zayed Hospital in Rahim Yar Khan. According to witnesses, the train's fire took 20 minutes to put out. Another train was dispatched to rescue stranded passengers and take them to Rawalpindi.