An explosion at the renowned chocolate factory has caused three confirmed fatalities and several injuries.
Three individuals have been confirmed deceased, and several others wounded, officials stated after an explosion at R.M Palmer Factory, a historic chocolate factory in Pennsylvania.
“Three people died and five are unaccounted for.” said police.
FOX 29 Philadelphia was informed by the West Reading Borough Police Department on Saturday that “three people died and five are unaccounted for” in the wake of the explosive incident on Friday evening.
Amidst the aftermath of the tragic explosion, there was “a sign of hope” as one survivor was discovered alive in the debris, according to officials on Saturday morning.
During a press conference, West Reading City Council Vice President Philip Wert revealed that “someone was found alive in rubble, not knowing if they were going to live or die,” but has now been granted a second chance. The person’s identity and present state have yet to be disclosed.
A day after the devastating explosion and fire, RM Palmer issued a statement expressing sympathy for the families of those who perished in the tragic incident.
According to a Facebook post by the company, “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.”
RM Company conveyed their solidarity with their employees, whom they consider as family, and assured them of their unwavering support in the aftermath of the tragic incident.
“We have always viewed our employees as family and are focused now more than ever on providing any support we can to you and the families of employees directly affected by this tragedy,” RM Company stated.
On Friday, March 24, at approximately 5 p.m., firefighters were dispatched to the chocolate factory in Berks County, Pennsylvania, following reports of a multi-alarm fire and an explosion.
“The blast caused significant destruction,” officials confirmed.
“The blast caused significant destruction,” officials confirmed. “It leveled R.M. Palmer’s Building 2 and caused damage to Building 1.”
FOX 29 Philadelphia’s weather camera captured the explosion’s enormity, as large debris flew into the air and a thick, billowing cloud of smoke formed.
Officials reported during a press conference on Saturday morning that rescue workers were still on the scene searching for survivors, as recovery efforts continued.
“Eight people were transported to Reading Hospital,” a Tower Health spokesperson said, adding that “one victim was transferred to another facility, two people are in fair condition and five have been discharged.”
“A loud noise, like a roaring sound, then the house shook.” stated Soto.
Liz Soto, who was in close proximity to the explosion, recounted to FOX 29 that she heard “a loud noise, like a roaring sound, then the house shook.” She also expressed her concern about a friend who works at the factory.
“She went to work, she’s confirmed to have gone to work, but we don’t know anything about her,” Soto stated.
On Saturday, Governor Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania visited the site of the explosion, where he expressed his condolences and promised to provide resources to aid the rescue efforts.
“Our hearts break for the families of those who didn’t come home… We are with you, and my administration is here to provide all the resources and support West Reading needs,” Shapiro said.