At least five people have died in a major fire that engulfed a building at the Pune-based vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII) on Thursday. The deceased include five men and one woman. "Five charred bodies recovered from Serum Institute of India building where fire broke out in the afternoon," a fire official said.
Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was anguished by the loss of lives due to the fire incident. "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," he said.
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.
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 fire broke out at 2.45 pm on the fourth and fifth floors of the SEZ 3 building in the Serum Institute premises. It has been brought under control.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said the state government has ordered a probe into the fire. Earlier, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asked the state machinery to ensure that the fire is brought under control. He is in touch with the Pune Municipal Commissioner.