January 22, 2021 11:02:58 pm
Pune City Police and fire fighting agencies on Friday initiated a probe into the fire incident at the Serum Institute of India (SII) building, in which five persons had died on Thursday.
While the incident took place in the jurisdiction of Hadapsar police station, considering the seriousness of the case, the Pune City Police Crime Branch also started a parallel investigation. A case of accidental death and burning incident was lodged at Hadapsar police station.
Along with the police, teams of the forensic science laboratory (FSL), the fire brigade and electricity department visited the SII on Friday to ascertain the cause of fire.
Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said, “We have launched a probe. A forensics team visited the spot and collected samples. The Crime Branch has also started a probe. Action will be taken based on the preliminary findings.”
Sources said that the police team spoke to about a dozen workers who were at the SII building where the fire incident was reported. The FSL team also collected some samples from the spot.
Devendra Potphode, chief fire officer of Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA), Santosh Warick, chief fire officer of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), and Prashant Ranpise, chief fire officer of Pune Fire Brigade, visited the SII premises on Friday.
“Fire officials, electrical department and FSL experts visited the site. We are yet to come to any conclusion regarding the cause of fire and how it spread. Further investigation is on,” said Potphode.
“Smog detection system at the SII was very effective. There was sufficient water supply for the fire vehicles involved in fire fighting,” Potphode added.
As per the sequence of events shared by various officials from the Pune Fire Brigade, first call about the fire was received at the control room around 2.33 pm on Thursday. Officials said that fire could have started 15 to 20 minutes prior to that.
A total of 10 fire tenders, including six from Pune Fire Brigade, four additional water tankers, four Devdoot (small fire tender) vans, one hydraulic lift, and one van equipped with breathing apparatus were put into service to douse the firs, officials said. At least 10 fire officers and over 70 personnel were involved in the fire-fighting operation. Most of the area on the fourth, fifth and six floors, which have huge carpet areas, were badly damaged in the incident, said officials.
Fire Officer Prabhakar Umratkar, who was among the first to reach the affected area, said, “… We observed that intense smoke and fumes were coming out from windows and staircases. We started heavy spray of water from outside, using the ladders on tenders and a hydraulic lift. After initially controlling the intensity of the fire, especially that on the staircase and hallways, our people could reach more areas to douse the fire.”
Another fire officer said that inside the under-construction building, electric wiring, insulating material, ducts and plastic objects were kept in large quantities, which might have aggravated the fire.
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