Fire at South Korea primary lithium battery factory kills 22

At least 22 people, most of them foreign nationals, were killed in a massive fire at a South Korean factory that manufactures non-rechargeable lithium batteries in Hwaseong city, just south of Seoul. The cause of the blaze is still being investigated.
Fire fighter extinguishing fire
Image by 12019 from Pixabay

A fire at a primary lithium battery factory in South Korea killed at least 22 people on Monday morning, local officials said.

The blaze broke out at a facility operated by battery maker Aricell in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, about 50 kilometers southwest of Seoul.

After nearly five hours, the fire 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.

First reports suggest that two Koreans and 20 foreigners, 18 of whom were Chinese nationals, were among the dead.

Local fire officials told Reuters that the fire at the Aricell battery factory began after several battery cells exploded inside the warehouse, though it remains unclear what caused these explosions in the first place. No official report on the cause of fire has been issued yet.

Kim said there were 102 workers in the factory before the fire broke out. At least two people were seriously injured and five suffered minor injuries, he said.

Aricell’s manufacturing plant was reportedly storing around 35,000 primary batteries, which are widely used in electronic products with low power consumption such as cameras. 

Unlike rechargeable lithium-ion battery cells used in electric vehicles and stationary storage applications, primary lithium cells are made for single-use and disposal.

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  • Marija has years of experience in a news agency environment and writing for print and online publications. She took over as the editor of pv magazine Australia in 2018 and helped establish its online presence over a two-year period.


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