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22 Workers Killed After Single Malfunctioning Lithium Battery Sets Off Disastrous Chain Reaction

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A fire at a lithium battery factory has claimed at least 22 lives.

The fire at the South Korean factory owned by battery maker Aricell took place in the city of Hwaseong, near Seoul, on Monday, according to The New York Times. In addition to the 22 people killed, one worker was missing while eight were injured.

Kim Jin-young, an official with the Hwaseong Fire Department, said 102 workers were in the factory when the fire broke out, according to the Times.

One battery cell caught fire, he said, leading to a series of explosions that rippled through the 35,000 battery cells stored on the factory’s second floor.

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Lithium batteries are an essential component for electric vehicles, from bikes to trucks, but the fire risk from them has risen as their use proliferates.

Batteries from Aricell are often used to run utility networks, the Times reported.

More than 160 firefighters and 60 fire engines fought the fire.

Lithium battery fires can be stubborn to extinguish.

A fire at the Gateway Energy Storage facility near San Diego last month broke out on May 15 but was not extinguished until May 31, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Robert Rezende, Alternative Energy Emergency Response coordinator for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, said a lithium-ion battery fire is different from other blazes.

“Historically speaking, we usually tend to see a much longer period of time where this cascading damage just keeps going, almost like the domino effect,” Rezende said, according to the Union-Tribune.

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“The batteries are just going to do what they’re gonna do until they decide to stop doing it. That’s the simplest way to describe it,” he said.

In January, Seneca Insurance, citing data from UL Solutions, said that across the U.S., there have been 445 lithium-ion battery fires, 214 injuries, and 38 deaths.

E-bikes in New York City were responsible for 267 fires in 2023, 18 deaths, and 150 injuries, it reported, citing data from the Fire Department of New York.

Over the past three years, lithium-ion battery fires have been the top cause of fatal fires in New York City, according to Seneca.


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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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