New Delhi: At least five people died as a major fire broke out at the premises of the Serum Institute of India in Pune, world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer on Thursday.
Pune mayor said that five people, who were workers at the under-construction building lost their lives in the fires.
The police said that nine people were evacuated from the building located at the institute’s Manjari premises, the facility where Covishield’, which is Oxford-AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine, is manufactured.
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla had earlier claimed that there has been no loss or major injuries to anyone, but later confirmed that there has been some fatalities.
He also said that the incident would not affect the production of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“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 in a tweet.
“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,” he added in another tweet.
Visuals of the fire that straight away caught the public eye showed the smoke billowing out from the facility.
The police said that the fire broke out on the fourth and fifth floors of the SEZ 3 building in the Serum Institute premises and was brought under control in two hours.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said the state government has ordered an investigation into the fire.
Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said all the people that were present inside the facility have been evacuated.
To the unversed, Serum Institute is playing a major role in India’s mass vaccination dive against Covid-19 that began from January 16 and is also delivering millions of doses of the vaccine to several nations. (AGENCIES)