Explosion at Pennsylvania chocolate factory leaves dozens dead, dozens missing

WEST READING, Pennsylvania (AP) — An explosion at a chocolate factory in Pennsylvania on Friday killed two people and left five missing, officials said. One person was dragged out of the rubble overnight.

Hours after an explosion erupted just before 5 p.m. Friday at an RM Palmer factory in the borough of West Reading, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia, rescuers using dogs and imaging equipment were on duty. I continued to search through the rubble. .

Officials in West Reading said Saturday they had only confirmed two deaths. The Pennsylvania Department of Emergency Management previously said there were five deaths, citing county emergency management officials, but an update from the county said two people died, It was also shown that five people were missing.

Police Chief Wein Holben said the rescue of one person from the rubble “gives hope that others may still be found.” Rescuers continued a thorough search using specialized equipment and techniques. Officials said they were looking for signs of life using dogs and imaging equipment as they carefully cleared the debris.

Holben said the blast destroyed one building and damaged an adjacent building. The cause is still under investigation, he said.

Mayor Samantha Kaag said of the blast site, “It’s pretty leveled. It’s the building in front of the church and the apartment building, and the explosion was so loud that the building moved four feet forward.”

A spokesperson for UGI Utilities said the crew was brought in after blast damage led to the release of gases that were fueling the fire.

“There were no calls regarding gas leaks or gas orders prior to the incident, but we are cooperating with an investigation and part of that is checking all nearby facilities,” UGI spokesman Joseph Swope said Saturday. told to

Eight people were taken to Reading Hospital on Friday night, according to Tower Health spokeswoman Jessica Bezler. Two have been hospitalized in good condition and five are receiving treatment and will be released, she said in her email. One patient was transferred to another facility, but Bezler did not provide further details.

Kaag said people were asked to move back about one block in each direction, but no evacuation was ordered. Borough administrator Dean Murray said some residents were evacuated from damaged apartments.

West Reading Council vice president Philip Wert said the building was constructed in the late 1950s and early 1960s and that officials “looked at our archives last night to improve the layout of the building.” I had to go to and pull out the blueprints.” And the machines and utilities where things are located. “

“The silver lining of all this is that someone was found alive, someone was found alive in the rubble and it wasn’t known whether they would live or die. Fortunately We found the person and they had a second chance, hopefully we’ll cross our fingers and find more,” he said.

Officials said RM Palmer, whom Murray described as a “borough staple,” was expected to make a statement shortly.

The company’s website says it has been making “chocolate novelties” since 1948 and currently employs 850 people at its West Reading headquarters.

https://www.wkbn.com/news/pennsylvania/explosion-at-pennsylvania-chocolate-plant-kills-2-leaves-9-missing/ Explosion at Pennsylvania chocolate factory leaves dozens dead, dozens missing

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