Deadly Fire Engulfs South Korean Lithium Battery Factory, 21 Missing

A devastating fire erupted at a lithium battery factory in Hwaseong, South Korea, on Monday, resulting in one confirmed death, three injured, and 21 others unaccounted for, according to the Yonhap News Agency, citing firefighters in the area. The facility, owned by Aricell, a primary battery manufacturer, is located just south of Seoul.

Update as of 4:47 EDT: officials say that 16 people are confirmed dead, seven are injured, and six are still missing.

Firefighter Kim Jin-young reported that rescue operations were hindered by the ongoing blaze, making it impossible to enter the building safely. The fire is believed to have started with an explosion in a battery cell on the second floor, triggering a series of subsequent explosions. With an estimated 35,000 battery cells stored on that floor alone, the situation remains highly volatile.

The intense heat and rapid spread of lithium battery fires pose significant challenges for firefighters. Traditional water-based extinguishing methods are ineffective, forcing responders to use dry sand instead. The risk of additional explosions further complicates rescue efforts.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has issued emergency instructions, calling for the mobilization of all available resources to focus on search and rescue operations while prioritizing the safety of firefighters.

Local authorities in Hwaseong have sent alerts to residents, advising them to stay indoors due to the heavy smoke and potential health hazards. The cause of the fire remains unknown as firefighting and rescue efforts continue.

This incident highlights the potential dangers associated with lithium battery production, a critical industry in South Korea’s economy. The country is a major global supplier of batteries for electric vehicles and other applications, making this event significant for local and international markets.

Information for this story was found via the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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