STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Serum Institute blaze: Five dead so far; Covishield facility unaffected

As per an eyewitness, one of the labourers, who was working in the under-construction building said that the fire broke out primarily because of the spark of the welding work at the sixth floor. 

Published: 21st January 2021 08:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st January 2021 10:05 PM   |  A+A-

Smoke billows out after a massive fire broke out at the Serum Institute of India in Pune Thursday Jan. 21 2021. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

MUMBAI: Five persons including a woman were charred to death and nine were evacuated from a building in the Serum Institute of India's Manjari premises after a massive fire broke out at the facility on Thursday afternoon.

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.

One of the labourers, who was working in the under-construction building, said the fire broke out because of the spark of the welding work on the sixth floor, said an eye witness. The fire brigade, however, is yet to ascertain the cause of the blaze.

Pune Brigade chief Prashant Ranpise said the firemen had fought the blaze for four hours to bring it under control and the cooling work is being carried out now. Ranpise also said 15 water tankers were pressed into action and the fire was brought under control around 4.30 pm. Viral visuals from the site showed smoke billowing out from the Serum Institute facility.

"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," Ranpise said. “Fifteen water tankers were pressed into action and the fire was brought under control around 4.30 pm. We will carry out an investigation and find out the cause of the fire. The detailed report will be submitted to the senior authority,” Ranpise added.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Serum Institute of India Adar Poonwalla said that Covidshield vaccine production won't be hit due to the fire as multiple production buildings have been kept in reserve to deal with such contingency situations.

"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," Poonawalla tweeted.

"Anguished by the loss of lives due to an unfortunate fire at the @SerumInstIndia. In this sad hour, my thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. I pray that those injured recover at the earliest," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

Modi was briefly on the first floor of the building during his visit to the Serum Institute of India (SII) in November last year to review the status of the vaccine candidate, SII sources said.

CM Uddhav Thackeray told reporters that the fire had not broken out in the section developing the COVID vaccine.

“The fire was in the department that develops the BCG vaccine. The situation is under control now. According to the preliminary information, an electric fault caused the fire. The fire brigade personnel worked on a war footing to douse the blaze. People should not jump to any conclusion while ascertaining the cause of the fire. The probe will reveal all details,” said Thackeray.

Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, who is also the guardian minister for Pune, said that the fire at SII is a serious matter and a high-level probe will be carried out. 



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp