The cause of the explosion is being investigated.
WEST READING, Pa. — An explosion at a Pennsylvania chocolate factory on Friday killed five people and left six people missing, authorities said.
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency confirmed an increase in the death toll Saturday morning after an explosion shortly before 5 p.m. Friday at the RM Palmer Co. plant. in the West Reading area.
Police Chief Wayne Holben said the blast destroyed one building and damaged an adjacent building.
“It’s pretty flat,” Mayor Samantha Kaag said of the blast site. “The building in the front, with the church and apartments, the explosion was so violent that it moved that building four feet forward.”
The cause of the explosion in a community about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia is under investigation, Holden told reporters.
Eight people were taken to a Redding hospital Friday night, Tower Health spokeswoman Jessica Bezler said.
Two people were transported in good condition, and five are being treated and will be released, she said in an email. One patient was transferred to another facility, but Bezler did not provide further details.
Kaag said people were asked to move about a block in each direction from the blast site, but no evacuations were ordered.
Dean Murray, area manager for West Reading Borough, said some residents had been evicted from the damaged apartment building.
Kagg said district officials have not been in direct contact with representatives of RM Palmer, which Murray called the district’s “major product.”
The company’s website says it has been making “chocolate novelties” since 1948 and now employs 850 people at its West Reading headquarters.