The chairman of SK Group said that his company takes full responsibility for a fire at a data center that caused a major outage in South Korea.

The SK Group facility caught fire earlier this month, causing lengthy downtime with a number of critical services. Korean Internet company Kakao, which used the data center, experienced particularly long outages with its services, including the KakaoTalk messaging platform, which is used by the vast majority of South Korea's population and is regarded as "practically national communications infrastructure."


“I feel grave responsibility about the recent blackout,” chairman Chey Tae-won said to lawmakers, Korea JoongAng Daily reports. “SK is doing its best to deal with the situation.”

The data center was built by SK ecoplant, operated by SK C&C, and the fire was caused by lithium-ion batteries made by SK On. Local reports claimed that the battery's management system gave two warnings before the fire broke out, and a worker inspected the site twice, but SK denies this.

“I want to [compensate users] but we can only cater to our clients’ needs after they gather the data and come up with plans,” Chey said regarding calls for restitution.

“We can’t take any measures because we don’t have the data. We can compensate clients based on our contracts.”

Kakao currently faces a class action lawsuit over the issues that caused massive disruptions to transport and finance across South Korea - it is not clear how legally liable SK is for such lawsuits.

While Kakao was not responsible for the fire, it is responsible for its back-up and failover plans, which were not able to handle the single facility going down.

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