Around 5 p.m. on Friday, a powerful explosion erupted at the RM Palmer chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania, destroying one building and damaging another. Two individuals were killed in the initial explosion, with nine more unaccounted for, and 10 were sent to Reading Hospital, local news station WGAL reported. The search for survivors in the rubble continued over the weekend, and the death toll has risen to seven as of Monday, The New York Times reported.
The explosion sent debris, flames and dust into the air.
Since Friday, officials have been working to assist those affected and investigate the cause of the explosion. Frankie Gonzalez told the NYT that he's still waiting for an update on his sister Diana Cedeno, who packaged candy at the factory and has been missing since the explosion. Gonzalez told the NYT that other workers reported they smelled natural gas and informed the company's plant managers.
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The death toll now stands at seven, but there are still individuals in critical condition. WGAL reported that the search for survivors ended Sunday. In a statement
on Facebook, RM Palmer shared that it is "devasted by the tragic events," and is working "closely with local and national agencies to assist in the recovery process."
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