One Pulled Alive From Rubble of Chocolate Plant in Pa.

Three were killed and 4 are still missing
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2023 7:45 AM CDT
Updated Mar 26, 2023 10:05 AM CDT
Chocolate Plant Blast 'the Loudest Thing I've Ever Heard'
In this screen grab from video, smoke rises from an explosion at the RM Palmer Co. plant in West Reading, Pennsylvania, on Friday.   (WPVI-TV/6ABC via AP)
UPDATE Mar 26, 2023 10:05 AM CDT

After an explosion at a chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania, on Friday, some clarity has emerged on casualties: As of Sunday morning, authorities say three people were killed and four remain missing, reports the AP. However, in some good news, one person was pulled alive from the rubble overnight Saturday. The cause remains under investigation.

Mar 25, 2023 7:45 AM CDT

As people wrapped up the workweek on Friday, the peaceful afternoon gave way to chaos in West Reading, Pennsylvania, after a chocolate plant exploded, leaving at least two dead and nine missing. West Reading Borough Police Department Chief of Police Wayne Holben also said several people were injured in the explosion that took place right before 5pm at the RM Palmer Co. factory, though he didn't specify how many, per the AP. A Tower Health spokesperson, however, says that eight people were transported to Reading Hospital, with two patients in fair condition, and five set to be treated and released. One patient was sent to another facility. Officials say that no evacuations were required, though people were asked to stay at least one block away from the explosion site for the time being.

Video circulating on social media shows the moment of the explosion, sending a dark plume of smoke and debris flying into the air, reports the New York Post. "It's pretty leveled," the borough's mayor, Samantha Kaag, says of the blast site. "The explosion was so big that it moved [one neighboring] building 4 feet forward." "It was the loudest thing I've ever heard in my life," one local tells WPVI. "It literally felt like the ground fell out from underneath you. The whole house shook and my dogs froze ... it was scary." Officials are speculating the cause of the explosion may have been a gas leak, but an investigation continues. There's said to be no danger to the community. The company, which was founded in 1948, notes on its website that it specializes in making "seasonal chocolate novelties." (More explosion stories.)

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