A tragic incident occurred on Friday, March 10th, at the RM Palmer Company in West Reading, Pennsylvania. A massive explosion occurred in the factory, resulting in a massive fire that engulfed the structure. According to reports, at least two people have died, and nine others are still missing. The explosion happened around 5 p.m., and there were several people inside the factory at the time.
Emergency crews arrived on the scene and transported eight people to Reading Hospital. While two were admitted in “fair” condition, one was transferred, and the rest were discharged. Throughout the night, rescuers continued their search for survivors in the rubble, and they discovered one person alive, giving them hope that others could still be found.
According to Wayne Holben, Chief of Police at the West Reading Borough Police Department, the building where the explosion occurred, building No. 2, located at 55 S 2nd Avenue, was leveled, and the neighboring Palmer building No. 1, located at 77 S 2nd Avenue, was also damaged. Samantha Kaag, Mayor of West Reading, stated that the force of the explosion moved the building four feet forward, emphasizing the catastrophic nature of the incident.
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#PA— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) March 24, 2023
“A massive explosion [in a factory that produces chocolate] rocked the Reading skyline on Friday evening, sending debris flying through the air and triggering a multi-alarm fire.” pic.twitter.com/KAwte0kB6e
Chocolate factory exploding in West Reading, Pennsylvania— Dane (@UltraDane) March 25, 2023
Thick smoke filled the air and debris covered the streets after an explosion at the R.M. Palmer Company in West Reading.
It happened just before 5 p.m. Friday.
Move along. pic.twitter.com/oPDtH7EMi1
Although there is no immediate danger to the surrounding area, the borough is advising residents to avoid the area while the cause of the explosion is investigated. As the community awaits answers and mourns the loss of life, the incident has raised concerns and caused grief.
The R.M Palmer Company has been in operation for over 70 years and is a well-known chocolate factory in the area. The cause of the explosion is currently being investigated, and officials are working hard to find answers and determine the best next steps.