Home Uncategorized Blaze at South Korean lithium battery plant kills 22

Blaze at South Korean lithium battery plant kills 22


SEOUL: A fire likely sparked by exploding lithium batteries swept through a manufacturing factory near South Korea‘s capital on Monday, killing 22 mostly Chinese migrant workers and injuring eight, officials said.
The fire began after batteries exploded while workers were examining and packaging them on the second floor of the factory in Hwaseong city, just south of Seoul, at around 10.30am, fire officials said, citing a witness.
The dead included 18 Chinese, two South Koreans and one Laotian, local fire official Kim Jin-young said. He said the nationality of one of the dead was to be verified.
In the past few decades, many people from China have migrated to South Korea to seek jobs. They often end up in factories or in physically demanding and low-paying jobs shunned by more affluent South Koreans.
Kim said a worker remained out of contact and rescuers were searching the site. He said two of the eight injured were in serious condition.
The fire started at one of the factory buildings owned by a battery manufacturer, Aricell. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are ubiquitous in consumer goods from laptops to cellphones. They can overheat if damaged, defective or packaged improperly, leading to fires and explosions and making them a hazard for shipment on aircraft.
Senior fire official Jo Seon-ho, citing video footage, said workers mobilised fire extinguishers but failed to put out the blaze. They later rushed to an area where there was no exit before they likely inhaled toxic smoke and lost their consciousness, he said.
Prez Yoon Suk Yeol, wearing a safety helmet and a mask, visited the site. He expressed condolences to the dead people and ordered officials to put in place measures to effectively deal with battery-related fires. Monday’s blaze is one of the deadliest in South Korea in recent years.

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