A fire broke out at the Terminal 1 gate of Serum Institute of India (SII) in Maharashtra’s Pune on Thursday. Earlier, SII head Adar Poonawalla had tweeted that there has been no loss of life. But after hours of firefighting efforts, it has now been reported that 5 people have lost their lives in the fire incident.
BREAKING: 5 dead in Serum Institute plant fire. Blaze still being fought. pic.twitter.com/KmmDCrsuFX— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) January 21, 2021
Adar Poonawalla had also confirmed a few minutes ago that some people have been killed in the fire. He did not specify the numbers. Pune police and fire fighters are still at the site trying to control the blaze.
ANI has reported that the fire at the under-construction building was perhaps caused by the welding work. Four workers were evacuated from the site. But when the blaze was controlled, five bodies were found at the site, Pune Mayor Muralidhar Mohol has informed.
Following the fire incident at the facility, eight fire tenders are on the spot to control the fire. As per reports, the fire incident happened at an under-construction building and it has not impacted any vaccine manufacturing units. Storage facilities are also safe.
The site where the fire broke out, is an under-construction building at Serum Institute of India, Pune. The vaccine and vaccine manufacturing plant are safe. More details awaited pic.twitter.com/oykxR3EBjA— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) January 21, 2021
Visuals of smoke billowing from several buildings at the site have gone viral on the internet. It is notable here that Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is currently making the Covishield vaccine, prepared by Oxford-AstraZeneca and nit just India, but several nations world wide are dependent on this cheap vaccine to immunise their populations against the Wuhan Coronavirus.
The production of Covishield was also not reportedly being carried out at the Manjri plant of Serum Institute of India, as per reports.
A massive fire broke out at a plant of Serum Institute of India in Manjri area of Pune. 8 fire tenders on the spot. Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine Covishield is manufactured by @SerumInstIndia However production of Covishiled was not being carried out at Manjri plant. pic.twitter.com/gRlrUCAYeu— Sanjay Bragta (@SanjayBragta) January 21, 2021
The fire incident at Serum Institute of India facility comes just a week after it rolled out the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine – Covishield.
It is pertinent to note that SII’s Covishield is one of the first coronavirus vaccines in India to get restricted emergency-use approval. The Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd was founded by Cyrus Poonawalla in 1966. It manufactures more than half of the world’s vaccines.
This is a developing story. We will update as more information is available.