Several killed in Pennsylvania chocolate factory explosion



Josie Pappone, Staff Writer

On Friday, March 24, a chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania went up in flames. Although the cause of the explosion remains unknown, factory workers claim that they smelled a gas leak hours before the incident. As of right now, 7 bodies have been recovered at the scene and remain unidentified. All the recovered people were deceased with the exception of one who was rushed to the hospital. All missing persons have been accounted for, but officials are continuing to search through the rubble. However, police state that the likelihood of finding survivors decreases as time passes.

Due to the size of the explosion, nearby buildings have been abandoned due to safety concerns. A video of the explosion was captured by local cameras. Senior Bella Bottini exclaimed after seeing the video on Twitter, “Omg, that’s heartbreaking!” Many witnesses said that the explosion was so powerful that it propelled the building four feet forward. The video shows heavy clouds of black smoke and debris shooting hundreds of feet in the air, endangering factory workers and others in the vicinity. In addition to the 7 who lost their lives at the scene, at least 10 have been hospitalized with minor injuries. Thankfully 6 have already been discharged as of Monday.

The factory is owned by the R.M. Palmer Company, who indicated their devastation about the accident. This specific West Reading factory has a rich history in the area. It has been there since the 1960s and was a spectacle for locals. Senior Alex Jacob who used to live in the area includes, “I have a lot of friends that live in that area and I feel so bad for the people who lost their lives.” Although R.M. Palmer claims to have nothing to do with the incident, a local West Reading woman whose house was damaged by the explosion is suing them for negligence. However, the cause of the explosion is still unknown. The question remains: Was the factory explosion due to the inattentiveness of the company or was it just a horrible accident?