Two dead after fire at Hyundai’s shipyard

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Two dead after fire at Hyundai’s shipyard

A fire broke out yesterday at Hyundai Heavy Industries’ shipyard in Ulsan, killing two people and injuring two more who were working on the dock.

According to the Ulsan Fire Department and the company, the fire started at 4:04 p.m. at HHI’s No. 5 dock which is used to construct liquefied petroleum gas carriers. HHI, the world’s largest shipbuilder, was building an 84,000-ton LPG carrier that was due to be finished next month.

The fire department sent about 18 fire trucks and 60 firefighters to extinguish the flames, which emitted large black smoke that covered the sky in Ilsan-dong, eastern Ulsan. People living nearby were ordered to evacuate.

The blaze was extinguished at around 5:33 p.m., the fire department said.

The department said that two workers died and two were injured in the fire. After the fire, three of them were taken to the nearby Ulsan University Hospital, where one died from serious burns. Another worker was found dead at the scene. The two injured and two deceased are employees of HHI’s subcontractors, according to the company.

There were about 130 people working at the site when the fire broke out.

Workers at the dock said that they were at risk of burns and of smoke inhalation from the fire. HHI said lots of black smoke is produced when heat insulation materials are burned. The insulators are commonly used in shipbuilding.

Fire department and police officials have yet to release the official cause of the fire, but they suspect that it started when workers were welding the heat insulation materials or nearby parts. One witness said that he heard a big explosion and saw the smoke rising immediately afterward.

HHI and police said that they are examining how much damage the fire has caused to the shipyard.

BY JOO KYUNG-DON [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]



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