DAEJEON. KAZINFORM A huge fire has engulfed a tire plant in the central city of Daejeon, but no serious injuries have been reported, fire officials said Monday.
The fire broke out at 10:09 p.m. Sunday at the plant operated by the nation's leading tiremaker, Hankook Tire & Technology Co., according to the Daejeon Fire Headquarters, Yonhap reports.
The fire agency said no serious injuries have been reported, but 10 plant workers and one firefighter have sought medical treatment due to smoke inhalation.
More than 750 firefighters have been battling the fire for nearly 12 hours, but strong winds and dry conditions are hampering the efforts, the authorities said.
The agency said the fire is presumed to have started from a tire-shaping machine in the northern part of the second plant where flammable materials are stored.
«There is difficulty with putting out the fire as tires are made from flammable materials,» Kim Joon-ho, a fire official, told reporters, adding that nine helicopters were additionally mobilized.
Around 400,000 tires stored at a warehouse adjacent to the second plant are presumed to have burned, Kim said, citing it as the reason for a huge black smoke cloud.
The authorities earlier evacuated residents from nearby apartments due to the blaze and instructed others in the vicinity to close their windows.
Two middle schools located near the plant were closed for the day, while another high school nearby was switched to remote classes.
The fire has also caused transport disruptions, including to train services running near the factory and vehicle traffic on an expressway.
The operation of high-speed KTX trains that had detoured around Daejeon was resumed early Monday.
The interior ministry has also ordered officials to prevent any secondary damage to buildings and residents living nearby.
Hankook Tire, meanwhile, said it is looking into the exact cause of the blaze and assessing the damage.