Fire breaks out at Chinese factory that supplied Samsung Note 7 batteries

Materials that caught fire were lithium-ion batteries and some semi-manufactured battery products, Tianjin firefighting authority says

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2017, 6:04pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 February, 2017, 10:25am

A fire broke out in a Chinese factory that supplied batteries for Samsung’s explosion-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphones on Wednesday morning.

Samsung SDI Co., a supplier of batteries to the Galaxy Note 7, said a “minor fire” broke out in the plant in suburban Tianjin’s Wuqing district but was quickly put out.

No one was injured in the incident, news portal reported.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 fires caused by battery design, manufacturing issues, says company

The reason for the blaze was not immediately clear, the report said, but Tianjin’s firefighting authority said the materials that caught fire were lithium-ion batteries and some semi-manufactured battery products.

A total of 19 fire engines and more than 110 firemen were sent to the scene after the fire was reported at 6am, according to a statement the authority posted on its official Weibo microblog at about 3pm.

Photos circulated on Chinese social media showed plumes of black smoke rising from a factory that users said was operated by Samsung SDI.

Local environmental protection officials arrived around 4pm to monitor air quality for possible pollution, said.

Shin Yong-doo, a Samsung SDI spokesperson, told Bloomberg that the fire occurred at a waste depository and not a production facility. It did not affect production, Shin said.

Samsung SDI, affiliated to Samsung Electronics, is one of the two battery suppliers for the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

The phones have been under fire after multiple reports of explosions caused by their batteries overheating. Samsung suspended sales of the Galaxy Note 7 in September and announced a global recall.

Samsung Electronics said last month that the batteries’ manufacturing and design flaws were to blame for the overheating.

SDI said this month that it had invested about 150 billion won (HK$1 billion) in safety and that its batteries would probably be used in Samsung Electronics’ next smartphone model.

Headquartered in Yongin, South Korea, Samsung SDI has the largest network in mainland China, including five production corporations in Hefei, Suzhou, Wuxi, Xian and Tianjin.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg