Preliminary report released on Pennsylvania chocolate factory explosion

West Reading, Pennsylvania (WHTM) – The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the deadly chocolate factory explosion in West Reading, Pennsylvania.

The commission’s preliminary report shows that natural gas contributed to the March 24 explosion and fire at the RM Palmer plant.

However, the report added that there were no reported spikes in gas usage or work done on the gas main prior to the explosion.The NTSB said the “source” of the explosion was still under investigation. .

Interviews with employees after the accident revealed that employees in two buildings at the factory had noticed an unpleasant odor on the afternoon of the incident, just before the explosion. Identified by the NTSB as Building 2, he said people working in one building were sanitizing equipment when they detected the smell of natural gas. People in Building 1 reported detecting a similar sulfur odor.

The NTSB wrote that “Employees in Building 1 recalled smelling rotten eggs around the same time.”

At least one worker told The Associated Press that he notified management about the odor 30 minutes before the explosion. When the explosion happened, the same woman caught fire and fell off the floor into a vat of liquid chocolate.

The NTSB reported that “about 35 office staff and 70 manufacturing employees” worked in the factory’s two buildings at the time.

Seven people were killed and 11 injured in the explosion.

In a statement, RM Palmer Co. said it was aware of the NTSB’s report, but commented on the investigation and allegations “surrounding the incident” because the company was “asked to cooperate” with the federal investigation. said he couldn’t. Litigation may be filed in connection with the case. ”

“The safety and health of our employees has always been and will continue to be of paramount importance, and we extend our deepest condolences to those affected by this tragedy,” the company continued in a statement.

of NTSB full report Available on the agency’s website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Preliminary report released on Pennsylvania chocolate factory explosion

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