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Heather Hunter


NextImg:WATCH: Massive explosion at Pennsylvania chocolate factory kills 5, leaves 6 missing

Five people were killed in a powerful explosion at a chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania, on Friday.

Following the large explosion, a fire broke out at the RM Palmer Company. Thick smoke filled the air, and debris covered the nearby streets.


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Six people are still unaccounted for at the candy factory, according to West Reading police.

Numerous others were transported to a nearby hospital. Officials say they are still gathering the number of injuries at this time.

Local reports speculate it was caused by a gas leak, but investigators are still looking into the cause of the explosion.

In this screen grab from video provided by WPVI-TV/6ABC, smoke rises from an explosion at the R.M. Palmer Co. plant in West Reading, Pa., Friday, March 24, 2023. (WPVI-TV/6ABC via AP)


South Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag, who is also a firefighter, went to the scene of the explosion.

"To the residents, community, and those effected by todays tragedy - I extend my deepest sympathies. We are all in this together," Kaag wrote on social media.


"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," she told a West Reading news outlet.

Pennsylvania State Senator Judy Schwank expressed how her "heart is with everyone affected by this terrible tragedy."


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Fire crews are busy clearing the scene, and officials say there is no more danger to the community at this time.