Maharashtra orders probe into SII fire that killed 5; Covid vaccine plant safe

The Maharashtra government has ordered a detailed investigation into the fire that swept through the Serum Institute of India in Pune killing five people on Thursday afternoon.

Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said shortly after the devastating fire that the directives have been issued for a detailed probe into the incident. He also said that the plant where the Covid-19 vaccine is being manufactured is safe.

“Directives have been issued to the Pune police commissioner for detailed investigation into the incident,” Pawar said in a statement.

“People in the country and abroad have expressed concerns over the incident. I would like to clarify that 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 caused,” he said.

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray also took stock of the situation.

“The fire at Serum Institute of India in Pune has been brought under control. The fire brigade officials have rescued six people from the facility. I have been informed that the Covid vaccine manufacturing plant is safe,” he told reporters at Sahyadri guest house at Malabar Hill in the evening.

State health minister Rajesh Tope said that the local administration has recovered five dead bodies from the spot.

“Rotavirus plant installation was going on when welding sparks caused the fire due to highly inflammable material present at the spot. It took the local administration three hours to douse the fire completely. They have also recovered five bodies. Police investigation is on and a fire audit of the building will also be conducted,” Tope said.

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