Late Friday afternoon, an explosion at a chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania resulted in two fatalities and nine individuals still unaccounted for. Reading Hospital has admitted eight individuals, with two in “fair” condition and one transferred, while the remaining patients are expected to be discharged soon.
The explosion, which occurred at approximately 4:57 p.m., caused significant damage to Building No. 2 at the R.M Palmer Company and neighboring Building No. 1. The force of the explosion moved the affected building four feet forward, according to West Reading Borough Police Department’s Chief of Police, Wayne Holben.
West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag described the leveled building where the explosion occurred and announced that the cause of the incident is currently under investigation. The borough has urged residents to avoid the area, though there is no immediate danger to the surrounding vicinity.
Crews will be working through the weekend to manage the scene, with the identities of the deceased and those hospitalized still unknown at this time.