An explosion at a Pennsylvania chocolate factory known for manufacturing chocolate Easter bunnies killed two and injured nine on Friday, according to officials.
The cause of the deadly blast that left the facility 60 miles north-west of Philadelphia obliterated a little more than two weeks before Easter remained under investigation on Saturday morning. But officials have said they believe it may have resulted from a gas leak, WPVI reported, and warned residents to stay away from the area.
Video posted on social media showed how the RM Palmer Company building in West Reading, Pennsylvania, violently exploded about 5pm on Friday.
Of those hospitalized because of injuries, one was later transferred elsewhere, two were listed in fair condition, and the rest had been released after receiving medical treatment. The names of two people who were killed during the explosion had not been released to the public immediately.
“The building in the front, with the church and the apartments, the explosion was so big that it moved that building four feet forward,” the mayor of West Reading, Samantha Kaag, said to the media.
The history of chocolate factories is littered with disasters. Some explosions have occurred when combustible starch dust used for shaping candies and bonbon centers has ignited.
Last month, the confectionary giant Mars Wrigley was fined more than $14,500 over a mishap in June at its M&M/Mars plant in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, in which two workers fell into a vat of chocolate.
Emergency responders were able to free the pair by cutting a hole in the bottom of the tank, according to reports.
According to RM Palmer’s website, the company has specialized in Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas and Halloween chocolates since it was founded in 1948. “What began as one man’s dream has grown into a collection of holiday novelties loved by millions of people … making it one of America’s largest and most innovative confectioners”, the website says.
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