There was a fire outbreak at the site of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune on Thursday afternoon.
The fire reportedly broke out at an under-construction building of the SII, where vaccine production was supposed to start soon.
Five persons were confirmed dead in the fire that was said to have affected the 4th and 5th floor of the building. The vaccine laboratory which was on the third floor was however not affected.
CEO and owner of SII, Adar Poonawalla confirmed the report saying; “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.”
Poonawalla assured that the incident won’t affect the production of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, known locally as Covishield, “due to multiple production buildings that I had kept in reserve to deal with such contingencies.”
SII Chairman and MD, Cyrus Poonawalla later announced a compensation of Rs 25 lakhs to each affected family.
“Today is an extremely sorrowful day for all of us at SII. We’re deeply saddened & offer our condolences to families of the departed. We’ll be offering compensation of Rs 25 Lakhs to each family, in addition to mandated amount as per the norms.”
President of India, Ram Nath Kovind expressed grief over the incident.
He said: “The loss of lives in a fire accident at the Serum Institute of India in Pune is distressing. My thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families. I wish speedy recovery of the injured.”
The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi also mourned those that died and wished the injured ones a quick recovery.
“Anguished by the loss of lives due to an unfortunate fire at Serum Institute of India. In this sad hour, my thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest,” he said.