Just in: Five dead in India vaccine plant fire: CEO mourns ‘loss of life’

People stand outside the India’s Serum Institute after a fire broke out, in Pune on January 21, 2021. – A fire broke out on January 21 at India’s Serum Institute, the world’s largest maker of vaccines, but a company source said production of drugs to prevent Covid-19 coronavirus was not affected. (Photo by – / AFP)

MUMBAI, India (AFP) — Five people died as a fire tore through a building in the world’s biggest vaccine production hub in western India Thursday, officials said.

“Five people have died,” Pune city mayor Murlidhar Mohol told reporters following the fire at the Serum Institute of India.

Rescue workers discovered five bodies in the under-construction building after the blaze was brought under control, media reports said, but the company insisted its production of drugs to counter the coronavirus pandemic was not affected.

“We are deeply saddened and offer our deepest condolences to the family members of the departed,” Adar Poonawalla, the firm’s CEO, tweeted, without offering further details.

© Agence France-Presse