FRNSW issues lithium-ion battery warnings after explosion and corrosive gas cloud - Video - North Wollongong

Published: 21 Oct 2022 10:30am

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is warning the public to be especially cautious when handling damaged lithium-ion batteries after a man was seriously injured in an explosion in Wollongong earlier this week.

Around 1.30pm on Tuesday 18 October, a worker was disposing of numerous lithium battery chip components at the North Wollongong site, when a chemical reaction occurred, causing an explosion.

The worker tried in vain to douse the flames using a nearby hose.

The reaction also created a cloud of corrosive vapour which led to the man suffering second-degree burns to 20-per cent of his body, including his face and chest.

Bystanders used the hose to wash the victim down as firefighters from the Wollongong, Balgownie and Bulli Fire Stations arrived at the scene.

He was treated at the scene by firefighters and NSW Ambulance paramedics, and transferred to hospital.

No-one else was injured in the incident.

While the incident involved uncommon materials and processes, the public is advised to be careful when dealing with lithium-ion batteries that have been damaged.

Further FRNSW advice about Lithium-ion battery safety can be found at: [external link]

Information on current FRNSW research on the Safety of Alternative and Renewable Energy Technologies is also available at: [external link]

Media note: video of the North Wollongong incident can be found here: [external link]

Updated: 30 Jan 2023 09:13pm

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Related safety topics

Battery and charging safety

It's important that we all understand the risks of lithium-ion batteries and be prepared if things go wrong.

Details about this incident may change and should not be used as emergency information and/or advice.

For all life threatening emergencies, call Triple Zero (000)

For flood information, warnings or requests for non-life threatening assistance, call the SES on 132 500 or visit the NSW State Emergency Service website here. [external link].

For information directly relating to bushfires please call the Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737 or visit the NSW Rural Fire Service Website here. [external link]

Stations nearby


32-36 Denison Street, Wollongong NSW 2500

BALGOWNIE Fire Station

117 Balgownie Road, Balgownie NSW 2519

CORRIMAL Fire Station

120 Princes Highway, Corrimal NSW 2518