Fire breaks out at Terminal 1 gate of Serum Institute of India in Pune. More details awaited.
Fire breaks out at Terminal 1 gate of Serum Institute of India in Pune. More details awaited.

A major fire engulfed one of the buildings situated within the Serum Institute of India (SII)'s plant here on Thursday afternoon, officials said.

Thick clouds of smoke could be seen billowing out of one of the buildings in the SII complex at Gopalpatti.

"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," Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute said.

At least 10 fire-tenders from Pune Fire Brigade rushed to the site and were battling the blaze, the cause of which is not clear.

Meanwhile, ANI reported that the site where the fire broke out, is an under-construction building at Serum Institute of India and the vaccine and vaccine manufacturing plant are safe.

The fire continued to rage at the fourth and fifth floors of SEZ3 building inside Terminal Gate 1.

Nine people have been rescued from the spot of fire.

“It’s an under-construction building,” says Serum Institute's PR.

Serum Institute's CEO and Founder Adar Poonawalla said that no lives have been lost in the incident. "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," he tweeted.

Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration Minister Dr Rajendra Shingne said that even though the cause of the fire has not been ascertained yet, the spot where the vaccines are being made is safe and there is no impact on the vaccine. He added that in another hour, he will be able to understand the situation better and will give an update on the matter soon.

CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray is in touch with the Pune Municipal Commissioner and is taking complete on-ground updates. He has directed the state machinery to coordinate and ensure that the situation is under control.

A team of NDRF reaching a plant of Serum Institute of India in Pune after a fire broke out.

At present, extinguishing the fire and preventing damage to the Serum Institute is a priority, said Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. "Firefighting efforts are underway on the battlefield. All relevant agencies of the city and district administration are engaged in firefighting and relief work," he added.

"Thick smoke acted as a hurdle in fire fighting. The fire is under control now. Cooling operation has begun. The fire spread across third, fourth and fifth floor. It is the new facility of SII and was partly under construction currently we are taking more information about the structure from the SII authorities. Our teams successfully rescued three people. we are still ascertaining the cause of the fire," said Prashant Ranpise, Chief Fire officer Pune Fire Brigade.

(With inputs from IANS)

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