JINAN   -      China’s emergency management ministry has sent a team to east China’s Shandong Province after ten people died of smoke inhalation at a pharmaceutical company, local authorities said Tuesday.

The team, after inspecting the site of the accident, has demanded a timely investigation into and proper handling of the case, according to the city government of Jinan.

The accident occurred at 3:37 p.m. on Monday when welding sparks ignited a heat-transferring substance, generating smoke in the basement of Qilu Tianhe Pharmaceutical.

Eight people who were working on a pipeline renovation project suffocated to death on the spot, and two others died despite emergency medical treatment. Twelve rescuers also sustained minor smoke inhalation injuries.

The accident did not pose harm to the local environment, local environmental protection authorities said.