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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Serum fire: Pune Police record statements, await reports from fire dept and forensics

Five workers were killed in the major fire that had engulfed the top three floors of a newly-constructed six-storey building inside one of the campuses of vaccine-maker SII.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
January 25, 2021 11:28:29 am
SII Fure, Serum Institute fire, Ajit Pawar on SII fire, Maharahstra news, pune news, Indian expressThe fire broke out in the three upper floors of the newly-constructed six-storey building inside the SII campus. (PTI)

Pune police officials said they have completed the process of recording statements of various people in connection with the fire at the Serum Institute of India (SII) campus in which five persons were killed. Reports from fire department, forensics sciences laboratory and electrical experts are now awaited, the police said.

Five workers were killed in the major fire that had engulfed the top 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 supplies of vaccines for Covid-19. The five dead were workers who were doing welding and air-conditioning jobs at the building.

While the incident had taken place in the jurisdiction of Hadapsar police station in Pune city, considering the seriousness of the case, the Pune City Police Crime Branch had also started a parallel probe along with local police station. A case of accidental death was lodged at Hadapsar police station.

Also Read | Serum Institute of India fire: All you need to know

Deputy Commissioner of Police Namrata Patil told Express on Monday, “Various agencies are involved in this investigation. We have completed recording the statements of the workers, family members of the deceased and others connected with the incident. Now, the reports from the forensics sciences facility, fire department and electrical experts are awaited. Based on our findings and their reports, we will decide the further course of action.”

Santosh Warick, Chief Fire Officer with Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), Prashant Ranpise, Chief Fire Officer of Pune Fire Brigade and Devendra Potphode, Chief Fire Officer of Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA), and also the experts from forensics and electrical units had visited the SII premises.

Speaking to Express, Warick said, “Because of the heavy damages to premises due to the fire, we are depending upon the findings of the forensics and electrical experts for drawing our conclusion on the cause of the fire. After receiving their reports, we will submit ours to the police.”

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.

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