Lithium Battery Factory Fire in South Korea Kills 16, Leaves Others Missing

At least 16 people died, seven were injured and six remain missing following a fire at a lithium battery manufacturing facility near the South Korean capital on Monday, officials said.

Rescue workers at the factory in Hwaseong city, just south of Seoul, recovered the bodies after searching the site, local fire official Kim Jin-young said during a televised briefing.

Kim earlier stated that most of the victims were foreign nationals, including Chinese citizens.

He explained that the missing individuals’ mobile phone signals were tracked to the factory’s second floor. Kim mentioned that a witness reported the fire started after batteries exploded while workers were inspecting and packaging them. However, the exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Kim indicated that those found dead likely couldn’t escape through the stairs to the ground floor. He also stated that officials will investigate the functionality of the fire extinguishing systems.

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

President Yoon Suk Yeol previously instructed officials to deploy all available personnel and equipment in the search for survivors, according to his office.