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Death toll in Pa. chocolate factory explosion reaches 7

Officials on Sunday reported that seven people died from an explosion at a Pennsylvania chocolate factory on Friday. Photo courtesy of West Reading Council President Ryan Lineaweaver Facebook
Officials on Sunday reported that seven people died from an explosion at a Pennsylvania chocolate factory on Friday. Photo courtesy of West Reading Council President Ryan Lineaweaver Facebook

March 27 (UPI) -- Emergency crews in Pennsylvania discovered two bodies late Sunday in the rubble of a destroyed chocolate factory in West Reading, bringing the death toll to seven, officials said.

West Reading Police Chief Wayne Holben said the bodies had not been identified but believes they could be two people previously reported as missing from a Sunday plant explosion.

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Officials said that with the discovery, all previously missing persons had been accounted for.

"Please be patient and respectful as we work with the county to get the families information, closure and resources for now and the foreseeable future," West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag said Sunday night.

Ten people working at the factory were taken to a West Reading hospital operated by Tower Health. Of those, hospital officials said two remain hospitalized, one in good condition and one in fair condition. Doctors transferred two to other hospitals and six were discharged.

Officials on Sunday night were not able to provide updates on the condition of a woman who was pulled from the rubble overnight on Saturday

The explosion Friday night devastated the chocolate facility operated by the candy company R.M. Palmer.

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Ruth A. Miller, communications director for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency said an investigation would seek to determine the cause of the blast.

"In the initial incident report from Berks County to PEMA, a reference to a gas leak was included. It is really important to note that incident reports from counties are a snapshot in time of the understanding of the incident at the time the report was made," said Miller.

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