Major fire broke out at the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune this Thursday. The fire broke out in a building on the world’s largest vaccine producer’s 100-acre campus in the Manjari area of the city.
Manjari facility is where the Covishield vaccine used in the nationwide inoculation drive against the pandemic is made. The building where a fire broke out is one km from the Covishield vaccine manufacturing unit, sources said.
While an exact cause of the fire is still unknown, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray told reporters yesterday that initial information suggested that an electrical fault caused the fire.
Cyrus S Poonawalla, Chairman and Managing Director, Serum Institute of India said the fire broke out in under installation facility situated at the Special Economic Zone at Manjri. Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that the initial fire was caused by some ongoing welding work at the site. The fire broke out at about 2:45 pm at an under-construction building where vaccine production was supposed to start after a month. The fire broke out at 4th and 5th floor of the SEZ3 building. BCG vaccine laboratory was there at 3rd floor of the same building but that is unaffected. The COVISHIELD plant is almost about 1km distance from fire incident site.
According to police officials, the fire was brought under the control in two hours. Chief Fire Officer Prashant Ranpise said 15 water tankers were pressed into action and the fire was brought under control around 4.30 pm.
It may be noted that the country’s apex drugs regulator had granted restricted emergency use permission to Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccine in India after the fire breakout.