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Lucky escape for some at Serum Institute


Pune, Jan 22: Some contractual workers had a lucky escape as they ran to safety in time when a fire broke out in an under-construction building at the Serum Institute of India (SII) premises here on Thursday afternoon.

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    Avinash Kumar, one of the contractual labourers working in the five-storey building at the time of the incident, said moment the fire broke out he along with some others quickly ran away and saved their lives.

    Lucky escape for some at Serum Institute

    "Moment we saw smoke emanating from somewhere in the building, we escaped from the floor where we were working," said Kumar.

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    However, all were not so lucky as charred bodies of five labourers were later recovered from the fifth floor of the structure by fire brigade personnel at the SII premises in the Manjari area.

    "Two of our colleagues - Bipin Kumar and Rama Shankar - could not come out in time and got trapped inside one of the floors (the fire affected 4th & 5th floors)," said Avinash Kumar.

    Another worker, Sudhanshu Kumar, said the fire broke out at around 2.15 pm.

    "Moment the fire broke out, we ran towards safety.

    However, some of our colleagues got trapped in the fire," Sudhanshu Kumar added.

    "There were 200 to 300 workers in the building and they were engaged in insulation, sliding and other building works," he said.

    Each level of the structure consists of two floors, Sudhanshu Kumar added.

    "Some workers jumped from one floor to another to save their lives,"other," he said.

    Asked how the blaze started, Sudhanshu Kumar said he just heard shots about fire breaking out.

    "We just ran away to save our lives. However, two of our colleagues could not come out in time," he added.

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    Meanwhile, Chetan Tupe, NCP MLA from Hadapsar, which covers the area where the incident took place, gave the names of the deceased as Rama Shankar Harijan, Bipin Saroj, Sushil Kumar Pandey, Mahendra Ingale and Pratik Pashte.

    When contacted, Namrata Patil, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 5), said the process of identifying the victims was still going on.

    "We have registered an accidental fire case and investigation was going on," she added.

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