Updated: February 6, 2021 10:03:18 pm
The Hadapsar police station has submitted an interim report to Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta regarding the progress of the inquiry conducted in the fire incident at the Serum Institute of India (SII) premises on January 21, in which five workers were killed.
When contacted, Gupta confirmed that the report has been submitted to him and said reports from various other agencies are awaited.
The fire had engulfed the upper three floors of a newly-constructed six-storey building inside one of the campuses of vaccine-maker SII, which is a central player in global supply of vaccines for Covid-19. The five workers had been involved in welding and air-conditioning jobs at the building, which had recently been completed.
Pune police has launched an investigation to ascertain the cause of the fire, whether all precautionary and safety measures were in place, and whether there was any negligence on anyone’s part.
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Police had written to the regional Forensics Sciences Laboratory, seeking various analysis reports regarding the fire on priority. Reports from the Fire department, electrical experts and experts from the College of Engineering, Pune, are also awaited.
Meanwhile, the report submitted by the Hadapsar police station to the police commissioner is mainly about the inquiry conducted so far by police teams, which includes statements of various persons and other details.
As per the sequence of events shared by various Fire department officials, the first call about the fire was received at the control room around 2.33 pm on January 21. Officials said that fire could have started 15 to 20 minutes prior to that. A total of 10 fire tenders, 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 fire, 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.
After the fire, the Serum Institute of India had said it suffered losses worth at least Rs 1,000 crore due to the blaze, although the production or supply of the Covid-19 vaccine remained unaffected. “The fire incident will not affect Covishield supplies, but it has damaged the rotavirus and BCG vaccine manufacturing and storage facilities. It is a big financial loss for us, of more than Rs 1,000 crore,” Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla had said at a press conference held a day after the fire.
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