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At least 20 dead in fire in South Korea

According to media reports, at least 20 people have died in a major fire at a battery factory in South Korea. It is still unclear why the fire broke out.

According to media reports, the bodies of around 20 people have been found following a major fire at a lithium battery factory in South Korea. Rescue workers discovered them in the affected building in the city of Hwaseong, south of Seoul, South Korean broadcasters and the national news agency Yonhap reported, citing the fire department.

Initially, 23 people were reported missing. Most of them were foreign workers. There are fears that the number of victims could rise further, it was said.

Cause of fire unclear

The fire had trapped numerous workers in the multi-story factory building. It was initially unclear how many of them were affected. The rescue workers had tried to reach them after the fire broke out. Initially, there was talk of at least one death. Several people were also injured.

The company stores around 35,000 battery cells on the second floor of the factory and more in other areas. South Korean television showed flames and thick clouds of smoke coming out of the building. There were several small explosions in the burning building. The fire broke out in the morning for reasons that were initially unknown.

South Korea is an important producer of batteries

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol issued emergency orders to authorities to mobilize all available personnel and equipment to focus on search and rescue efforts. Authorities in Hwaseong city warned residents of the fire and advised them to stay indoors because of the smoke.

South Korea is an important producer of batteries, including those used in electric cars. South Korean companies supply electric car manufacturers worldwide, such as the Tesla Group.

Kathrin Erdmann, ARD Tokyo, tagesschau, 24.06.2024 10:51 a.m.

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