Pune: 5 Persons Killed In Fire At Serum Institute of India

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Pune, January 21, 2021: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has informed that five persons, all construction workers, have died in the fire incident at Serum Institute of India’s plant in Manjiri near Hadapsar. They were found on the fifth floor of the building and rushed to a nearby hospital where they died.

The deceased persons have been identified as Rama Shankar Harijan, Bipin Saroj, both residents of Uttar Pradesh, Sushil Kumar Pandey of Bihar, Mahendra Ingle and Pratik Pashte, both residents of Pune. All were contractual labourers who were doing electrical works.

The fire began around 2.45 pm and was finally extinguished at 4.10 pm. The fire reached the second, third, fourth, and fifth floors of an under-construction building near terminal 1 gate. Due to the fire, a swell of smoke spread all around. No loss of life or property has been reported.

Serum Institute’s CEO Adar Poonawalla took to Twitter to update people on the current situation and stated, “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.”

He had earlier tweeted, “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.”

About an hour ago, he had tweeted, “Thank you everyone for your concern and prayers. So far the most important thing is that there have been no lives lost or major injuries due to the fire, despite a few floors being destroyed.”

Ajit Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister, State of Maharashtra stated, “All relevant agencies of the city and district administration are engaged in firefighting and relief work. I have received information from the Pune Commissioner regarding the same and have directed a thorough inquiry into the incident. Concerns are being expressed in the country and abroad regarding the safety of the Corona Vaccine project. In this regard, I would like to clarify that I have been told that the Corona Preventive Vaccine Project is safe.”

The site that caught fire is an under-construction building at Serum Institute of India, Pune. Vaccine storage and manufacturing plants are safe. The expense of the construction of this building is in crores.

Serum Institute of India has clarified that there is no damage to the Corona vaccine Covishield as they are kept in a different building, which is about one kilometre away.

The company has tied up with pharma firm AstraZeneca and Oxford University for the production of Corona vaccine Covishield. It is reported that the Serum Institute would provide 10 crore (100 million) doses of the vaccine in India and other low and middle-income countries.