Massive Fire at Serum Institute Pune plant; 5 dead
Pune: A massive fire broke out at the Pune-based Serum Institute of India's (SII) building on Thursday afternoon resulting in the death of five people.
The five people who died, were perhaps the workers at the under-construction building while 9 persons were evacuated from a building in vaccine maker's Manjari premises
News agency PTI has confirmed the deaths. Adar Poonawalla, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the world's largest vaccine manufacturer said he is deeply saddened by the loss of lives, and expressed condolences to the family members of the departed.
"We have just received some distressing updates; upon further investigation we have learnt that there has unfortunately been some loss of life at the incident. We are deeply saddened and offer our deepest condolences to the family members of the departed," SII CEO Adar Poonawalla wrote on Twitter.
However, he added that there would be no loss of Covishield production due to the fire.
The building where the fire broke out is part of the under-construction site of the Serum facility and is one km from the Covishield manufacturing unit. Officials said there would be no loss of Covishield production due to the fire.
The Manjari facility is where the Covishield vaccine used in the nationwide inoculation drive against the pandemic is made. The building where the fire broke out is part of the under-construction site of the Serum facility and is one km from the Covishield manufacturing unit, sources said.
"I would like to reassure all governments & the public that there would be no loss of #COVISHIELD production due to multiple production buildings that I had kept in reserve to deal with such contingencies at @SerumInstIndia. Thank you very much @PuneCityPolice & Fire Department," he added.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said the state government has ordered a probe into the fire.
The fire, which broke out at 2.45 pm on the fourth and fifth floors of the SEZ 3 building in the Serum Institute premises, was brought under control in two hours, police said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Namrata Patil told PTI that nine people were evacuated from the spot after the fire broke out. As per a recent media report in NDTV at least five people have died in a major fire that engulfed a building.
Viral visuals from the site showed smoke billowing out from the Serum Institute facility.
A fire brigade official said cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.
A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team was rushed to the spot, an official said.
Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said all the people trapped inside the building where the fire broke out have been evacuated.
Chief Fire Officer Prashant Ranpise said cooling work has commenced at the spot.
Fifteen water tankers were pressed into action and the fire was brought under control around 4.30 pm, he said.
"The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. Furniture, wiring, cabins were gutted. No major machinery or instruments were stored on the floors where the fire broke out," he said.
"I have taken information from the Pune Municipal Corporation about the incident and an instruction has been given to carry out a detailed probe into the incident," Ajit Pawar said.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has asked the state machinery to ensure that the fire is brought under control, his office tweeted. He is in touch with the Pune Municipal Commissioner, the CMO added.