As reported earlier, a massive fire broke out at an under-construction building at the Serum Institute of India (SII) building in Pune. The recent update to the incident is that at least 5 people have died as their charred bodies were found by the rescue team. 

There are five other people who were inside the building when the fire broke out. Of the five people who were stuck, four have already been rescued, while the rescue operation of 1 person still continues. 

According to the news agency ANI, efforts are being made to control the fire and rescue the one person trapped inside the burning building but the smoke and ash are making it difficult for firefighters to carry with the rescue operation. 

Addressing the tragic incident, Serum Institute’s CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted saying “We are deeply saddened and offer our deepest condolences to the family members of the departed.

Earlier, after assessing the situation CM Uddhav Thackeray told reporters that the COVID-19 vaccine unit was safe and there have been no casualties in the incident which was later turned out to be false. 

“As per the information we’ve received, the fire is under control. There have been no casualties so far. The fire had not broken out at the COVID vaccine unit,” said CM Uddhav Thackeray.  

Earlier, Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta reached the spot and gave further details about the incident.  

“At 2:45, the SII got information of a fire that had erupted on the fourth-fifth floor of a building at the SII complex in Gopal Patti. No production was going on that floor. As per the SII, there is no problem or threat of fire whatsoever to their COVID-19 vaccine unit. Further investigations are underway,” said Gupta.  

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar directed the Pune administration to rush to the site and manage the situation. Mr. Pawar is reported to be en route to Pune and has directed an immediate probe into the cause of the fire.  

Pawar tweeted in his mother tongue Marathi and wrote: “Efforts are being made to extinguish the fire at the Serum Institute building in Pune. All relevant agencies of the city and district administration are trying to put out the fire. I have taken information from the Pune Commissioner in this regard and instructions have been given for a thorough inquiry into the accident.” 

He also added, “I have been told that the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing project is safe. At present, priority is being given to extinguishing fires and controlling the damage caused by accident.” 

Mr. Pawar also said, “Concerns are being expressed in the country and abroad regarding the safety of this project. However, I would like to clarify that as per the information received, the Corona Preventive Vaccine Project is safe. At present, putting out the fire and controlling the damage caused by the blaze is top priority. 

A few minutes after the blaze at the SII was reported, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla took to the micro-blogging platform Twitter and wrote, “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.” 

The SII CEO also sent another tweet assuring the Indian masses and government that the production of the COVID-19 vaccine suffered no loss.