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Fire breaks out at Serum Institute building in Pune, vaccine production not hit

The incident of fire at the Serum Institute of India took place at Manjri Plant. (Photo: ANI)Premium
The incident of fire at the Serum Institute of India took place at Manjri Plant. (Photo: ANI)

  • According to reports, the site where the fire broke out, is an under-construction building at Serum Institute of India, three people have been evacuated so far
  • There would be no loss of Covishield production due to the fire, Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla said

A major fire broke out at the Pune-based vaccine manufacturing company, Serum Institute of India on Thursday.

The company is involved in producing Covid-19 vaccine Covishield – developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca – which has been given emergency use authorisation in India recently and is being used for inoculation in the country's mega vaccination drive.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Namrata Patil told PTI the fire broke out at 2:45 pm on the fourth and fifth floor of the SEZ 3 building in the Serum Institute premises.

10 fire tenders have reached the site of the mishap. One team of NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) moved to the site as well. Firefighting operations are underway.

The Manjari facility, where the fire broke out, is where Covishield vaccine is made, reported PTI. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, the official said.

There would be no loss of Covishield production due to the fire, Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla said.

The site where the fire broke out, is an under-construction building at SII. The vaccine and vaccine manufacturing plant are safe, quoted ANI further.

Later, the mishap led to the death of five people while the resuce team evacuated four, Pune Mayor said.

"Four people were evacuated from the building but when it came under control, five bodies were found by our jawans," said Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol, according to news agency ANI.

WATCH: Fire at Serum Institute building in Pune

The five people who died, were perhaps the workers at the under-construction building. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained but it is being speculated that welding, that was going on at the building, caused the fire, Mohol added.

Meanwhile, Serum chief Adar Poonawalla also expressed condolences for the loss of lives.

"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," tweeted Poonawalla.

Earlier, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is in touch with Pune Municipal Commissioner and is taking complete on-ground updates on the incident at SII. He has directed state machinery to coordinate & ensure that situation is under control, said CM office.

Poonawalla's Serum Institute, which is the world's largest vaccine manufacturing company is spread over 100 acres in Pune.

India has already rolled out a massive coronavirus vaccination drive under which two vaccines, Serum's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, are being administered to frontline health workers across the country.

Last year, as a part of the Covid-19 vaccine inspection, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the Serum Institute site to review its production out ahead of the vaccination drive in the country.

Several other countries are relying on the Serum Institute to supply them with the vaccine.

India exported its first batch on Wednesday -- to Bhutan and the Maldives -- followed by two million doses to Bangladesh and a million to Nepal.

The country plans to offer 20 million doses to its South Asian neighbours, with Latin America, Africa and Central Asia next in line.

With agency inputs

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