Three people have been confirmed dead, and several others wounded, after an explosion at R.M Palmer Factory, a historic chocolate factory in Pennsylvania, officials confirmed.
On Saturday evening, West Reading Borough Police Department confirmed with FOX 29 Philadelphia that three people died and five are unaccounted for following the fiery blast on Friday evening.
On Saturday morning, officials say there was “a sign of hope” after one person was found alive among the rubble of the deadly blast.
“Someone was found alive in rubble, not knowing if they were going to live or die,” West Reading City Council Vice President Philip Wert said in a press conference. “We found the person, and now they have a second chance.”
The identity of the person, as well as their current condition, has not yet been released.
On Saturday, March 25, one day after the fatal explosion and fire, the RM Palmer company released a statement, sharing their condolences with those who lost loved ones in the fatal accident.
“The tragic events that occurred on Friday have had a profound impact on all of us at R.M. Palmer, and we appreciate the outpouring of support as all of us continue to deal with the loss of our friends and coworkers. We offer our heartfelt condolences to those families who have lost loved ones and hope those injured will recover quickly,” the company said in a Facebook post.
“We offer our heartfelt condolences to those families who have lost loved ones and hope those injured will recover quickly.”
“We have always viewed our employees as family and are focused now more than ever on providing any support we can to you and the families of employees directly affected by this tragedy,” RM Company continued.
EXPLOSION AT R.M. PALMER CHOCOLATE FACTORY IN PENNSYLVANIA LEAVES 2 DEAD, OTHERS MISSING AND INJURED
Firefighters responded to the chocolate factory in Berks County, Pennsylvania, at approximately 5 p.m. on Friday, March 24, after reports of an explosion and a multi-alarm fire.
The blast caused significant destruction, leveling R.M. Palmer’s Building 2 and causing damage to Building 1. FOX 29 Philadelphia’s weather camera captured the massive explosion, which sent large debris flying into the air and left a cloud of thick, billowing smoke.
During a press conference Saturday morning, officials said recovery efforts were still underway as rescue workers on the scene search for survivors.
A spokesperson from Tower Health said eight people were taken to Reading Hospital. One victim was transferred to another facility, two people are in fair condition and five have been discharged.
OHIO METAL ALLOY FACTORY EXPLOSION KILLS 1, INJURES MORE THAN A DOZEN OTHERS
Liz Soto, who was near the explosion, told FOX 29 she heard “a loud noise, like a roaring sound, then the house shook.” She also said she hadn’t heard from a friend who works inside the factory.
“She went to work, she’s confirmed to have gone to work, but we don’t know anything about her,” Soto told the outlet.
“Our hearts break for the families of those who didn’t come home… We are with you.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro visited the explosion site Saturday, pledging resources for first responders to continue the rescue effort.
“Our hearts break for the families of those who didn’t come home… We are with you – and my Administration is here to provide all the resources and support West Reading needs.”
Fox News’ Elizabeth Pritchett contributed to this report.