At Least 3 Dead, 9 Missing After Deadly Chocolate Factory Explosion

R.M. Palmer’s chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania exploded on Friday evening, leaving multiple people dead, and others injured.

Massive Explosion at Chocolate Factory

On Saturday evening, West Reading Borough Police Department confirmed with FOX 29 Philadelphia that three people died and five are unaccounted for following the fiery blast on Friday evening.

Officials said that at least four people remained missing, though one person was found alive in the rubble overnight.

At least eight people were hospitalized for medical attention.

Firefighters responded to the chocolate factory in Berks County, Pennsylvania, at approximately 5 p.m. on Friday, March 24, after reports of an explosion and a multi-alarm fire. 

Watch here:

The explosion, which occurred around 5 p.m., destroyed one building and damaged another at R.M. Palmer Company’s factory, Chief Holben said at a news conference on Friday.

“The explosion was so big that it moved that building four feet forward,” Mayor Samantha Kaag, who is also a firefighter, said at the news conference on Friday after she responded to the scene.

In an interview, Ms. Kaag said she had felt the explosion at her house, four or five blocks from the factory.

“I didn’t hear a boom,” she said. “I just felt it shake my house.”

You can listen to the firefighters call into the emergency center, here:

“The tragic events that occurred on Friday have had a profound impact on all of us at R.M. Palmer, and we appreciate the outpouring of support as all of us continue to deal with the loss of our friends and coworkers. We offer our heartfelt condolences to those families who have lost loved ones and hope those injured will recover quickly,” the company said in a Facebook post.

Here is the official letter from the chocolate factory about the explosion and death’s.

The cause of the blast remains under investigation, but officials said they believe it may have been the result of a gas leak, WPVI reported.

Officials said there is no danger to the community, which is about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

The chocolate factory is just west of the Schuylkill and one block from Penn Avenue, a busy thoroughfare lined with cafes, ice cream shops and restaurants in West Reading, a borough of about 4,500 people that is about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

The RP Palmer Company was founded in 1948 and is headquartered in West Reading.

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