READING, Pa. – An explosion at a historic Reading chocolate factory left two people dead and several others hurt, according to officials.
Firefighters responded to R.M. Palmer Company on South 2nd Avenue around 5 p.m. Friday for reports of an explosion and a multi-alarm fire.
Authorities said the explosion leveled Building 2 of the facility and caused damage to Building 1. Investigators are still working to determine what caused the blast.
Fox29 Philadelphia reported that the deadly explosion is suspected to have been caused by a gas leak.
Workers were busy making Easter candy inside the factory when the explosion happened Friday evening about 5 pm.
At least two people were killed in the blast, and another nine are reportedly missing.
Eight people were taken to the hospital, with two still listed in fair condition and another was transferred to a different facility. Five were treated and released.
The R.M. Palmer factory has been in business since 1948, and currently has over 850 people employed there.
A weather camera belonging to Fox29 just happened to capture the moment the massive explosion occurred. Watch below:
READING EXPLOSION: A massive explosion rocked the Reading skyline on Friday evening, sending debris flying through the air and triggering a multi-alarm fire.
MORE: https://t.co/40KySY3P1Q pic.twitter.com/YrClPxsxZp
— FOX 29 (@FOX29philly) March 24, 2023
#UPDATE: At least six people hospitalized after explosion at chocolate factory in West Reading, Pa., hospital says
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) March 24, 2023
“The address in early reports matches that of R.M. Palmer Company, an over 70-year-old chocolate company and a staple in the Reading community.”pic.twitter.com/EY9nvHgRAH
— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) March 24, 2023
PA ¡ WEST READING ¡**3RD ALARM**¡ 77 S 2ND AVE ¡ SVCS O/S W HVY FIRE & EXPLOSION W COLLAPSE 2 STY COMM BLDG. RPTD PPL TRAPPED IN RUBBLE. |UEA02| photos from fire alerts of berks co Facebook pic.twitter.com/xFH38FkcOY
— USEmergAlerts Incident Notification Service (@USEmergAlerts) March 24, 2023
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