Pennsylvania Officials Give Conflicting Updates On Chocolate Factory Explosion That Left At Least Two Dead
Close-up of Blaze fire flame at night.
Credit: Nitat Termmee via Getty Images.

Officials on Saturday gave conflicting updates on the chocolate factory explosion in West Reading, Pennsylvania, that left at least two dead and more missing.

While the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency said that the death toll had risen to five with six people still missing, West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag characterized the widely reported death toll as “inaccurate,” according to local public radio station WITF-FM.

The explosion at the R.M. Palmer Co. plant rocked West Reading and the cause of the blast is still under investigation. Seven people were also hospitalized after the explosion, according to Pennsylvania Emergency Management communications director Ruth A. Miller. 

The Reading Hospital announced Friday evening that they had transferred one patient who had been injured during the explosion, had admitted two in “fair condition,” and released five others.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to everybody involved,” said Dean Murray, the borough manager of West Reading. Murray also said that the factory was a “staple of the borough.” 

At least one building was destroyed by the explosion, and another damaged, according to Chief of Police Wayne Holben, who has told people to stay away from the scene. 

Kaag released a statement early Saturday morning where she discussed the borough’s response to the explosion. “The tragic explosion at R.M. Palmer Company and loss of life has shaken our community. It is always difficult to come to terms with such sudden and unexpected events and unfortunately that is what has happened today. Our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends of those who have been affected,” she said.

“I’m asking for continued cooperation from the public to avoid the area of [sic] as emergency response workers continue to traverse the difficult task of recovery & assessing damage that will continue throughout weekend [sic]. Please keep them in your prayers as they work tirelessly throughout the night,” she added.


The explosion, which took place at around 5 p.m. on Friday, was caught on video by weather cameras. 

The R.M. Palmer Company, which began in 1948, makes a variety of chocolate products, with a large focus on holiday-themed candy for days like Easter and Valentine’s Day. The company says that it employs 850 people. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Pennsylvania Officials Give Conflicting Updates On Chocolate Factory Explosion That Left At Least Two Dead