January 25, 2021 11:48:43 pm
Pune police 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 on January 21, in which five persons were killed, and said that reports from fire department, forensic sciences laboratory and electrical experts are now awaited.
Five workers were killed in the major fire that 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 supplies of vaccines for Covid-19. The five workers were carrying out welding and air-conditioning work at the building which had recently been completed.
While the incident took 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 and burning incident was lodged at Hadapsar police station.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Namrata Patil told The Indian 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 forensic 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 experts from forensics and electrical units had visited the SII premises after the fire.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Warick said, “Because of the heavy damages to the 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.”
Ranpise said, “While the report will be submitted by MIDC fire department, we are assisting them as we were the first responders.”
Sources from the Pune city crime branch said that their teams were mainly looking into three aspects — various activities that were going on in the areas engulfed by fire, whether all precautionary and safety measures were in place and whether there was negligence on any person’s part.
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.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines