A massive fire broke out at Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) on Thursday. The blaze erupted at the institute's Manjari premises in the afternoon and 15 fire tenders were rushed to the site. Apart from ensuring avoidance of any collateral damage, the concern also centered around the incident as the institute is the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, producing millions of doses to fight the coronavirus.
Officials said since the fire occurred at the Manjari plant, it will not affect the production of the vaccine. "The fire incident will not affect vaccine production. There was no vaccine-related work or storage at the Manjari plant premises. The vaccine production is going on at a different place which is quite far from here. So there is nothing to worry about," Local MLA Chetan Tupe confirmed to India TV.
According to officials, the fire initially broke out on the third floor of the institute spanning over 100 acres. It later spread on to the fourth and then the fifth floor of the Manjari premises. The Chief Fire Officer (CFO) said the calls were received around 2.30 pm. "Fire at the Serum Institute of India building is under control, the cooling process is underway. No casualty reported, cause of the fire is still unknown," Prashant Ranpise, Chief fire officer at the Pune Municipal Corporation said.
All those trapped have been rescued. Meanwhile, a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been moved to assist in operations.
Uddhav Thackeray, Ajit Pawar step in
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is in touch with Pune Municipal Commissioner and is taking complete on-ground updates. He has directed state machinery to coordinate and ensure that situation is under control.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has left Mumbai for Pune. He will visit the incident site soon.
Adar Poonawalla says no lives lost
"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," Poonawalla wrote on Twitter.
In another tweet, he wrote: "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."