An explosion at an RM Palmer chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania, has reportedly left five people dead and multiple others missing and hospitalized.
While investigating officials have not officially determined the cause of the explosion, some believe it was the result of a gas leak.
In pictures of the explosion, large plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the building and debris was scattered on streets next to the explosion.
The company responsible for the explosion has been in business for 75 years and employs around 850 people at their West Reading headquarters, according to the Daily mail.
Fires at food processing plants have become more common and made national headlines as some people question if the fires are intentional.
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Others say that fire safety measures at food processing plants are insufficient and need to be reevaluated.
“We need to pay more attention to the fire protection measures that are in these facilities, make sure they’re maintained, and make sure they continue to function, so that when you are doing work in these kinds of plants you can make sure you control the risk that’s inherent,” Said Birgitte Messerschmidt, Director of the National Fire Protection Association Research Division.
The Daily Mail Reports–
🔥🚨BREAKING: Terrifying explosion, with multiple people inside at chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania. pic.twitter.com/4ipJsuDxHA
— Dom Lucre | Breaker of Narratives (@dom_lucre) March 24, 2023
Five people have died after a ‘gas leak’ caused a Pennsylvania chocolate factory to explode, hospitalizing eight and leaving six still missing as the inferno raged.
RM Palmer Company in West Reading caught fire last night after a terrifying explosion caused by a supposed gas leak.
Officials have not determined the cause of the explosion, but Garry Witmoyer, of, Wyomissing, said it sounded like a gas explosion.
‘I didn’t know, I just come running out and saw that mess over there. I think it was a gas explosion the way it sounded,’ he told ABC 6. ‘It was very scary, the building filled with smoke from just the explosion.’
Her son said: ‘I didn’t see flames at first, just a bunch of shingles and materials falling from the sky. I knew it was an explosion.’
No one was evacuated before the explosion, which has left firefighters to still battling the blaze. RM Palmer Building #2 has been completely destroyed and building #1 has sustained some damage.
The explosion took place just before 5pm and everyone within a block radius was asked to stay away from the area while emergency efforts took place.