Deadly Explosion at South Korean Lithium Battery Factory Kills 22

Deadly Explosion at South Korean Lithium Battery Factory Kills 22

Most of those killed in the fire on Monday were Chinese. Pic: Reuters

A devastating explosion at a lithium battery factory in South Korea claimed the lives of 22 workers, officials reported. The fire broke out at the factory in Hwaseong city, near Seoul, on Monday. Most of the victims were Chinese nationals.

Two South Koreans and a Laotian were also among the deceased. The nationality of one remaining victim is yet to be verified, according to local fire official Kim Jin-young. Eight individuals sustained injuries in the incident.

Firefighters at the Aricell-operated factory recovered the bodies after a thorough search of the site, Kim stated. The explosion occurred amid growing safety concerns over certain lithium batteries, which can ignite if mishandled.

Kim revealed that a witness informed authorities the fire started after batteries exploded while workers were inspecting and packaging them. The precise cause remains under investigation.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol is closely monitoring the situation. Interior minister Lee Sang-min urged local authorities to prevent any hazardous chemicals from polluting the vicinity. Earlier, the president directed officials to deploy all necessary resources to locate survivors.

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and Lee visited the site on Monday. Han requested officials to provide government assistance for funeral services and support programs for the victims’ families.

Kim confirmed that officials would examine whether fire suppression systems were functional. The factory employed 102 workers before the incident.

Established in 2020, Aricell manufactures lithium primary batteries for sensors and radio communication devices. The company has 48 employees, as per its latest regulatory filing and LinkedIn profile.

UK fire services have initiated multiple campaigns to promote the safe use of lithium batteries in e-bikes and scooters, following a surge in fires associated with the rechargeable devices.

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