At least 16 dead in a fire at a lithium battery factory in South Korea

Firefighters work at the site of a burnt lithium battery manufacturing factory in Hwaseong, South Korea, Monday, June 24, 2024.
Firefighters work at the site of a burnt lithium battery manufacturing factory in Hwaseong, South Korea, Monday, June 24, 2024.

SEOUL, South Korea — A fire at a lithium battery manufacturing factory near South Korea’s capital on Monday left at least 16 people dead, seven injured and six missing, officials said.

Rescue workers at the factory in Hwaseong city, just south of Seoul, retrieved the bodies after combing through the site, local fire official Kim Jin-young told a televised briefing.

Kim earlier said most of the missing people were foreign nationals including Chinese.

He said the mobile phone signals of the missing people were tracked to the second floor of the factory. Kim said a witness told authorities that the fire began after batteries exploded as workers were examining and packaging them, but the exact cause would be investigated.

Kim said those found dead likely failed to escape via stairs to the ground. He said officials will investigate whether fire extinguishing systems worked.

Kim said a total of 102 people were working at the factory before the fire occurred.

President Yoon Suk Yeol earlier ordered officials to mobilize all available personnel and equipment to find survivors, according to his office. (AP)

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