Fri 22 January 2021:
Police authorities, a forensic team and officials from the fire wings of three Maharashtra government agencies on Friday launched a probe to ascertain the cause of the fire at the Serum Institute of India’s premises, which claimed five lives.
Five contractual labourers died in the fire that broke out in a five-storey building in the SII’s Manjari premises on Thursday. The fire damaged the top two floors of the building located in ‘SEZ 3’ area of the premises of the vaccine major.
Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta on Friday said they have started investigating the incident.
“Our investigation started today afternoon. Our crime branch team, a forensic team reached the spot to begin the probe,” he said.
According to him, the statements of people who worked there are being recorded.
“Based on the outcome of the probe, further course of action will decided,” Mr Gupta said.
When asked if the forensic team has collected any samples from the spot, he answered in the affirmative.
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Meanwhile, top officials from fire wings of three agencies- Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) – are carrying out a joint probe into the incident.
Prashant Ranpise, PMC’s fire department head said there was no sign of any smoke at the spot right now, however, as a precautionary measure, a fire brigade vehicle has been deployed at the building.
Soon after incident, a case of accidental death was registered at Hadapsar police station, officials said.
The Manjari facility is where Covishield, the SII vaccine against COVID-19, which is being used in the nationwide inoculation drive against the infection, is made. The building where fire broke out is one km from the Covishield vaccine manufacturing unit.
Fire Causes Loss Of Over ₹ 1,000 Crore
The Serum Institute of India (SII) said it has suffered losses of over ₹ 1,000 crore due to the massive fire that broke out a day before at its premises in Pune, while Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that whether the blaze was an accident or sabotage will be known once the probe gets over.
Poonawalla said: “The extent of the damage is more than ₹ 1,000 crore because of the equipment and products over there that were to be launched.”
He, however, reiterated that the Covishield vaccine production has not been impacted due to the blaze.
“Fortunately, we have got multiple facilities and as chief minister sir has explained, the COVID-19 vaccine’s supply will not be affected due to the incident,” Mr Poonawalla added.
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