Lithium Battery Manufacturing Plant South Korea Fire Breaks Out

A deadly fire broke out at a lithium battery manufacturing plant in South Korea on Monday. According to a report by Reuters, the fire started around 10.30 am local time at a factory run by battery manufacturer Aricell in Hwaseong, south of the capital Seoul. Local fire officials were quoted as saying that the fire started after a series of battery cells exploded inside the warehouse, which had around 35,000 units.

In a report by Yonhap news agency, fire officials said the blaze spread quickly. Since batteries continued to explode, the rescuers found it difficult to go inside the plant and search for people, they added. The report also quoted a witness, who escaped from the second floor of the plant, as saying that an explosive combustion occurred in one battery cell at the time of the fire. 

The report by Yonhap news agency said that firefighting continued till early afternoon, and TV footage showed small explosions going off with showers of sparks in the burning plant. The report by Reuters said around 20 bodies have been found, while Yonhap noted that about 67 workers were on duty Monday and 21 people were still out of contact.
An emergency meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters was held in the afternoon to discuss ways of reducing casualties, and the Minister of the Interior and Safety Lee Sang-min has asked all relevant government agencies and the local government to utilise available resources and personnel to extinguish the blaze and rescue survivors.

According to Yonhap, earlier, President Yoon Suk Yeol instructed Lee Sang-min to make all the efforts possible to search for and rescue the missing people by mobilising all available manpower and equipment.

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