After an explosion at a chocolate factory near a Pennsylvania small-town, a fourth person was confirmed to have died. Three people were still unaccounted for after the incident.
Wayne Holben, chief of police for West Reading Borough, confirmed that the body was found under debris at the RM Palmer plant in West Reading. This is about 60 miles (96km), northwest of Philadelphia.
Holben requested continued prayers from the community, and promised that officials and rescuers “will not rest until all persons affected by this tragedy have been accounted for.” The blast occurred on Friday just before 5pm.
Rescue crews used dogs and imaging equipment in search of people hiding under rubble.
Chad Moyer, Chief of Borough Fire, stated that “Due to violence and the time that has passed the chance of finding survivors are decreasing rapidly.”
“Please be assured, however, that our primary goal remains accounting for all missing persons and reuniting them to their loved ones.”
One person was found alive in the rubble by authorities overnight. This “provides hope that other people may still be found”
The roads surrounding the site were also closed from Monday to Monday, at 8 a.m.
Two people are killed in an explosion at a chocolate factory, and five others are still missing
UGI Utilities is a gas and electric company. They claim that crews were called in after a blast caused a gas leak which was fueling the fire.
Joseph Swope, UGI spokesperson, stated that they did not receive calls about a gas leak or order before the incident. However, they are cooperating with the investigation.
Governor Josh Shapiro stated that resources would be made available “to support ongoing efforts to recover – in addition the vast assets already deployed”.
He stated that a team consisting of structural engineers and search dog from the state urban rescue taskforce had been helping.
“Devastated By the Tragic Events”
RM Palmer stated that all employees were “devastated” by the tragedy and was “focused on supporting their families”.
A spokesperson for the family said that they had lost close friends and colleagues and that their thoughts and prayers were with all those affected.