Fire at South Korea battery plant kills 16 people

In Asia

Emergency vehicles are parked next to the site of a fire at a lithium battery factory owned by South Korean battery maker Aricell in Hwaseong on June 24, 2024. 

Anthony Wallace | Afp | Getty Images

A fire that broke out at a South Korean lithium battery plant has killed 16 people, with six missing, local fire officials said, according to NBC News.

In a later update, Reuters said the death toll had climbed to 22, eighteen of which were believed to be Chinese nationals. CNBC could not independently confirm these figures.

The blaze erupted at the Aricell battery factory in Hwaseong, a city south of Seoul, around 10:31 a.m. local time, officials said. The fire was largely under control by 3:10 p.m. local time and has now been put out.

Roughly 145 personnel and 50 pieces of equipment were deployed in response to the fire, South Korea’s National Fire Agency said in a Google-translated social media update.

The plant housed an estimated 35,000 batteries, NBC said. The factory was a reinforced concrete three-story building that sprawled over roughly 2,300 square meters and housed an estimated 35,000 batteries, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

The cause of the fire breakout was not immediately clear.

South Korea’s Minister of the Interior and Safety Lee Sang-min has called a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters and called on response agencies to focus on preventing additional casualties and the spread of the damage, according to a Google-translated social media update from the South Korean Ministry of Public Administration and Security.

This breaking news story is being updated.

Read More: Fire at South Korea battery plant kills 16 people

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