At least five people have been reported dead so far after a huge fire broke out at one of the Serum Institute of India’s (SII) buildings in Pune. The fire started in SII's Manjri plant on Thursday afternoon. Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute took to Twitter to announce the news of the fatalities.
Mayor of Pune Murlidhar Mohol announced in a statement that four workers were rescued, while jawans later found five charred bodies, who were perhaps construction workers. The cause of the fire has not been ascertained so far; but it is being speculated that it was caused by welding work that was going on in the building.
The Serum Institute of India, Pune has recently made headlines for manufacturing the vaccine against Covid-19, the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine – Covishield.
However, amidst all this, addressing the nation’s fears, CEO Poonawalla as well as Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray have assured that the Covid-19 vaccine production has not been affected.
SII, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers, is producing around 50 million doses of the new vaccine at their facilities in Pune.
Photos and videos showed clouds of black smoke billowing out of the top of the grey building, which is currently under construction, that is a part of the institute. At least five trucks were sent by the fire department to put out the blaze and rescue any workers trapped inside.
Earlier today, Chief fire officer of Pune Municipal Corporation had informed that fire at the Serum Institute building is under control and the cooling process is underway.