Lithium Battery Factory Blaze in South Korea kills More than 20 Workers

On the morning of the 24th local time, a fire broke out at a lithium battery manufacturing plant in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, and more than 20 bodies have been found at the fire scene. The incident happened at a facility owned by batter manufacturer Aricell in the city of Hwaseong.

On the evening of June 24, local time, according to the person in charge of the fire department who participated in the fire scene rescue of the Hwaseong battery factory in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, after analyzing the preliminary investigation such as on-site surveillance video, when the lithium battery factory where a serious fire broke out that day, a large amount of smoke came out of the lithium battery and burned rapidly. It only takes 15 seconds to go from white smoke to intense combustion to smoke filling the entire work space. Although the on-site staff tried to put off the fire with fire extinguishers, but did not stop the development of the fire.

(Photo source: Xinhua News)

According to reports from Korea media, due to the production of the hazardous chemical "lithium" at the plant, the fire department preemptively issued a Level 2 response (ordering 3 to 7 fire stations to mobilize 31 to 50 pieces of equipment), and dispatched 145 firefighters and other personnel and 50 units of equipment to extinguish the fire. 

According to the reports, because the lithium battery fire was difficult to completely extinguish using conventional methods, and the fire was relatively large, the fire-fighting work was not progressing smoothly.

On the evening of the 24th, South Korean President Yoon Seok-youl went to the fire scene to inspect the fire. Yoon Seok-youl expressed condolences to the victims and their families at the scene and demanded a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident.

The Governor of Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, said at the scene that Gyeonggi Province will launch large-scale safety inspections throughout the region to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

(Photo source: Xinhua News)

The battery company where the fire occurred is called Aricell and was established in 2020. South Korea-based Aricell produces lithium batteries for products such as sensors and communication devices.

The fire involved many Chinese citizens. An insider in the lithium battery industry told reporters that China’s battery industry chain is in a leading position in the global market and has many mature industrial workers and employees. The remuneration paid by Korean companies to introduce Chinese workers is also relatively high.