Fire at lithium battery factory kills at least 16 in South Korea

Damond Isiaka
2 Min Read

Seoul, South Korea
CNN
 — 

A fire at a lithium battery factory in South Korea killed at least 16 people and left six others missing on Monday, local fire authorities said.

The blaze broke out at around 10:31 a.m. local time at a facility operated by battery maker Aricell in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, about 50 kilometers southwest of Seoul.

It was extinguished around 3:10 p.m, and firefighters were able to enter the factory, said Hwaseong Fire Department official Kim Jin-young in a briefing.

Rescue workers recovered 15 burned bodies, Kim said, adding that another person had died earlier due to cardiac arrest. Foreigners were among those missing, he said.

Emergency personnel carry the body of a person killed in a fire at a lithium battery factory owned by South Korean battery maker Aricell on June 24, 2024.

Two people were seriously injured with burns and five suffered minor injuries, Kim said.

The factory’s worker’s directory was burned, making the victim identification process difficult, Kim added.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered the Interior and Safety Ministry and the head of the fire department to “make all-out efforts” to rescue people by “mobilizing all available personnel and equipment.”

Parts of the lithium battery factory were burned following a fire in Hwaseong, South Korea on June 24, 2024.

Lithium-ion batteries are found in many popular consumer products, powering laptops, cameras, smartphones and electric vehicles. But a combination of manufacturer issues, misuse and aging batteries can heighten the risk from the batteries, which use flammable materials.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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