Serum Institute fire: CM Uddhav Thackeray to visit facility today
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will be visiting Serum Institute of India’s (SII) Pune facility on Friday afternoon, a day after five people died in a fire that broke out through the top floor and partially damaged another floor of the five-storey building in Manjri.
The fire could be doused after a three-hour-long operation though embers resurfaced by 7 pm Thursday during cooling operations.
Thackeray will arrive directly at the SII facility and review the situation, officials from district administration said. Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar visited the spot on Thursday evening and ordered a probe as well as a fire audit of the building.
All the five victims were labourers and SII has announced ex-gratia of ₹25 lakh to the family of each of the deceased. In a statement, SII chairman and managing director Cyrus S. Poonawalla said, “Today is an extremely sorrowful day for all of us at Serum Institute of India. Regrettably, there were losses of lives in the fire that broke out in our under installation facility situated at the Special Economic Zone at Manjri. We are deeply saddened and offer our condolences to the families of the departed. In this regard, we will be offering a compensation of INR 25 lakh to each of the families, in addition to the mandated amount as per the norms. We would like to extend our gratitude to everyone for their concerns and prayers in these distressing times.”
The deceased labourers were identified as Rama Shankar Harijan and Bipin Saroj, both from Uttar Pradesh; Sushil Kumar Pandey from Bihar; and Mahendra Ingle, and Pratik Pashte from Pune
Officials said at least six people were rescued from the premises. They added that the nearest Covishield production and storage units are at least a kilometre away from the under-construction building that went up in flames.
Earlier, state health minister Rajesh Tope said initial findings suggested that the fire was caused due to welding work and spread fast due to the presence of inflammatory material on the premises.