Chocolate factory explosion leaves at least 2 dead, 9 missing

At least two lives have been tragically lost and nine more are unaccounted for after an immense explosion occurred at a chocolate factory in Pennsylvania on Friday, as reported by officials.

The town of West Reading was shaken by the violent blast at the RM Palmer Company facility around 5 p.m.

Eight people were admitted to the hospital for medical attention. A spokesperson from Reading hospital informed NBC that one was transferred, two were in fair condition, and the rest had been discharged.

The catalyst of the blast is still under investigation, however, authorities think it may have been due to a gas leakage according to WPVI.

Video clips shared on social media depicted the building erupting, inducing debris and flames to fly through the sky. Visuals of the aftermath revealed parts of the structure scattered on the road while smoke still emitted from the remains of the building.

Mayor and local firefighter Samantha Kaag informed WPVI that, “It’s pretty leveled, unfortunately there’s not too much to be able to salvage from it. In the front, with the church and the apartments, the explosion was so big that it moved that building four feet forward.”

Residents were not required to evacuate, but the mayor urged those within a one block of the blast to stay away from the area. Officials stated there is no threat to the community, which is located 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

The RP Palmer Company was established in 1948 and is based in West Reading. This confectioner, one of the biggest in the nation, employs 850 individuals and specializes in seasonal treats like chocolate Easter bunnies as mentioned on their website.