Fire at Serum Institute’s Manjri plant in Pune; 10 fire tenders at the spot

While the plant produces multiple vaccines, the facility affected by fire did not have any production work on at the time of the incident, said the police
Smoke comes out of a building of Serum Institute after fire broke out in its Manjri premise in Pune. (Shankar Narayan/HT photo)
Smoke comes out of a building of Serum Institute after fire broke out in its Manjri premise in Pune. (Shankar Narayan/HT photo)
Updated on Jan 21, 2021 05:00 PM IST
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ByShalaka Shinde

A fire broke out at the Manjri plant Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune, on Thursday afternoon. While the plant produces multiple vaccines, the facility affected by fire did not have any production work on at the time of the incident, said the police. The cause of fire is being investigated, said fire brigade officials.

The call was received at 2.50pm after which 10 fire tenders and at least two tankers were rushed to the spot, said Pune mayor Murlidhar Mohol.

Later, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s office tweeted, “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.”

Deputy CM Ajit Pawar said in a statement, “Efforts to douse fire at Serum Institute of India are on at a war footing. The city and district administration have been activated in helping the operation. Directives have been issued to the Pune Police commissioner for detailed investigation into the incident. Following the incident, concerns have been expressed in the country and abroad. I have been told that the plant where Covid-19 vaccine is being manufactured is safe. At present, our focus is to douse the fire and minimize the damage.”

Pune Police commissioner Amitabh Gupta confirmed that the facility had nothing to do with Covid vaccine. “The primary information was that there’s a fire on the fourth and fifth floor of the building in the Manjri plant of the institute. No production was going on at the moment. Fortunately, there is no casualty. The first count of people has been done and a second count is going on. We are hoping that the fire will be brought under control in the next hour.”

SII official Vivek Pradhan also confirmed that the plant wasn’t involved in Covishied production.“This plant has nothing to do with Covishield. The Covishield plant is at least a km away from this building. Only raw material was inside this building. Nobody is trapped there. There were not more than 5-6 people in that space,” he said.

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted, “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.”

Local MLA Chetan Tupe said after reaching the spot, “I checked with fire brigade officials and they told me no casualty has been reported so far. The fire broke out at M SEZ-3, a newly constructed building. It is a part of Special Economic Zone developed by the Serum Institute. No vaccine production was going on there.”

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