The remains of a third apparent victim of a Pennsylvania chocolate factory explosion were discovered at the scene Saturday, West Reading district authorities said.
The finding brings the death toll linked to Friday’s explosion at the RM Palmer Company to three, with another four missing for more than 24 hours after the incident, West Reading Fire Chief Chad Moyer said.
The timeline means the chances of finding survivors are dwindling rapidly, Moyer said.
However, other officials said one person was found alive overnight in the rubble, and the discovery suggests there may be more survivors among the missing.
A spokesman for the facility said 10 people who survived with injuries were taken to Reading Hospital after the explosion in the West Reading district, an area of Berks County about 63 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
Two were transferred to other facilities, two were in good or fair condition at Reading Hospital, and the others were treated or checked out and released, authorities said, according to NBC Philadelphia.
The time elapsed has not added to the public’s understanding of what happened. Moyer said state and local fire investigators are continuing to investigate the cause of the explosion.
West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag said the blast just before 5pm on Friday «leveled» the confectionery plant.
Richard M. Palmer Sr. founded the company in 1948, when he sold a handful of chocolates, including bunnies. RM Palmer Company currently employs 850 people, according to the company’s website.
In a statement, the company expressed its distress, saying it had lost «close friends and colleagues» and saying it was trying to reach employees despite email and phone failures after the blast.
“Everyone at RM Palmer is devastated by the tragic events at one of our West Reading facilities and we are focused on supporting our employees and their families,” the company said.
kurt chirbas contributed.