WEST READING, Pennsylvania (AP) — An explosion at a chocolate factory in Pennsylvania on Friday killed two people and left nine missing, officials said.
Several other people were injured in the explosion at the RM Palmer Co. factory, said West Reading Borough Police Chief Wayne Holben, who did not confirm the exact number of injuries.
The explosion just before 5pm sent black smoke into the air, destroyed one building and damaged nearby buildings, including an apartment building.
“It’s pretty leveled,” West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag said of the blast site. “The building in front of the church and the apartment building was so loud that the building was moved four feet forward.”
Holden told reporters the cause of the explosion in a community about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia is under investigation.
Eight people were taken to Reading Hospital on Friday night, according to Tower Health spokeswoman Jessica Bezler.
In an email, she said two were hospitalized in good condition and five were being treated and released. One patient was transferred to another facility, but Bezler did not provide further details.
Kaag said people were asked to move back about one block in each direction from the blast site, but no evacuation was ordered.
West Reading Borough Administrator Dean Murray said some residents had been evacuated from the damaged apartments.
Kagg said borough officials did not communicate directly with RM Palmer officials.
The company’s website says it has been making “chocolate novelties” since 1948 and currently employs 850 people at its West Reading headquarters.
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https://fox40.com/news/national/ap-us-news/police-2-dead-9-missing-in-penn-chocolate-factory-blast/ Explosion at Pennsylvania chocolate factory leaves 2 dead, 9 missing