South Korean President Yoon visits site of battery plant fire that killed 22

Seoul, June 24 (IANS) South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol visited the site of a battery plant fire that killed at least 22 people on Monday and ordered government officials to draw up measures to prevent similar accidents from occurring, his office said.

Yoon decided to visit the plant run by lithium battery maker Aricell in Hwaseong, 45 kilometers south of Seoul, to carry out an emergency inspection after being briefed on the fire by Interior Minister Lee Sang-min, according to his office.

Yoon earlier instructed the minister and firefighting authorities to mobilize all available personnel and equipment to search for and rescue survivors, reports Yonhap news agency.

Firefighters have put the death toll at 22, with eight others injured, though the numbers could rise further.

While being briefed on the accident by the chief of the fire authorities in Gyeonggi Province, the president ordered him to “thoroughly” determine the cause of the fire.

“It is hard to put out a fire caused by batteries or chemical substances with a fire extinguisher or hydrant,” Yoon said, raising the need to study comprehensive measures with experts on how to extinguish such a fire at an early stage.

He also instructed Minister Lee to implement safety checks on chemical plants and map out measures to prevent similar accidents from taking place, according to the presidential office.

At the site of the fire, Yoon met with firefighters, stressing the importance of their safety while on duty.

“I express my condolences to the people who lost their lives due to the fire and their bereaved families,” he added.



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