10 killed in explosion at Chinese pharma plant

fire
A fire and explosion at a pharmaceutical plant in China was the second fatal blast in less than a month. (Pixabay)

Although China has made efforts to boost safety in its chemical manufacturing sector, deadly accidents are still considered common. An explosion and fire at a Chinese drug manufacturing plant proved deadly Monday when 10 workers were reportedly killed by smoke inhalation.

The explosion at the Qilu Tianhe Huishi Pharmaceutical Co. facility in eastern Shandong province was ignited by sparks from a pipe being welded at the plant, Rappler reported, citing state news agency Xinhua. A dozen rescue workers also were hurt but were not in life-threatening condition, the agency said.

RELATED: U.K. cites the GSK China plant that was damaged by explosions

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An investigation has reportedly been launched. According to Rappler, Qilu Tianhe has invested about 1 billion yuan ($150 million) in the 280,000-square-meter facility in Jinan. 

The publication said this blast follows by a month an explosion at a chemical plant in eastern Jiangsu province that killed 78 and injured hundreds. In 2015, GlaxoSmithKline had to stop production at a plant in Tianjin after a series of explosions and a massive fire at a chemical storage warehouse in the industrial district killed 160 and caused widespread damage. No one at the GSK plant was injured by the nearby blast, but the facility was damaged.