A deadly fire at a South Korean lithium battery plant on Monday is highlighting significant risk in the electric vehicle industry as Michigan forges ahead with billions of dollars in taxpayer investments.

At least 22 workers, mostly Chinese nationals, perished on Monday when multiple batteries exploded inside a warehouse of 35,000 batteries southwest of the capital Seoul, Reuters reports.

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“Battery materials such as nickel are easily flammable,” Kim Jae-ho, fire and disaster prevention professor at Daejeon University, told the news service. “So often, there is not enough time to respond, compared to a fire caused by other materials.”

The plant, owned by Aricell that employs 48, went ablaze around 10:30 a.m., blowing out chunks of the building and putting out massive white smoke clouds. Upper level portions of the building collapsed, and it took fire fighters about six hours to put out the blaze, according to Reuters.

Fire official Kim Jin-young told BBC 18 Chinese, one Laotian and two South Korean workers are among the confirmed dead, while another body has yet to be identified and at least one other may be missing.

“Most of the bodies are badly burned so it will take some time to identify each one,” Jin-young told news agency AFP.

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Eight others were injured, two seriously.

Fire official Cho Sun-ho told Reuters the foreign workers were temporary hires who were likely unfamiliar with the building, and would have succumbed to the toxic fumes within one or two breaths.

“The fact that there were so many casualties when this was on only the second floor is because of the toxic materials and not so much because of burns,” said Park Chul-wan at Seojeong University.

Sun-ho told The Associated Press the workers attempted to put out the blaze with fire extinguishers, but likely lost consciousness when they inhaled the toxic smoke.

The fire comes as companies in Michigan are gearing up to produce electric vehicle batteries and components at multiple sites in the state, fueled by more than $2 billion in taxpayer subsidies approved by Democrats and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration.

Through mid-June, the state had spent roughly $1 billion on five companies officials claim will create 12,000 jobs, though an analysis by Bridge Michigan found they’ve only created about 200 so far.

The deals include a Gotion battery components gigafactory in Big Rapids opposed by 91% of residents that has faced widespread concerns about links to the Chinese Communist Party, and efforts to bring in Chinese nationals to fill jobs.

Another, dubbed the “Worst Economic Development Deal of the Year” by the Center for Economic Accountability, supports a Ford-CATL battery plant in Marshall that has also drawn concerns from locals about CATL’s ties to the CCP and potential safety issues for workers and the community.

General Motors is planning yet another battery plant in Delta Township that remains under construction, with only 120 jobs created out of 4,000 promised, despite a schedule to open this year.

While the South Korean fire illustrates what can happen when things go wrong in battery factories, the risk to workers in Michigan remains well on the horizon.

Out of the five biggest taxpayer-subsidized EV projects approved in Michigan, “all of the projects are behind schedule and two have downsized, reducing best-case job expectations by 13%,” according to Bridge.

Patrick Anderson, CEO of the Anderson Economic Group, describes those deals, which Whitmer touts as economic wins for Michigan, as a “double risk that taxpayers are taking.”

In addition to “taking big risks on the companies,” the Whitmer administration is also betting on “technology that was nascent and that still hadn’t achieved anything close to widespread adoption.”

The South Korean fire points to a triple-threat, both to the workers and locals living near the facilities.

According to Reuters, authorities there are now working to prevent hazardous chemicals released by the fire from contaminating the surrounding area.