Pennsylvania chocolate factory explosion: What we know about the victims
WEST READING, Pa. - An explosion inside a Pennsylvania chocolate factory left seven people dead and a community shaken by the tragedy.
The blast took place at the R. M. Palmer Company on South 2nd Avenue in West Reading around 5 p.m. on Friday, according to officials.
Authorities say the explosion leveled one of the facility's buildings and caused structural damage to another.
FOX 29's Reading weather camera captured video of the explosion, which sent chunks of debris flying into the air.
One survivor was pulled from the rubble and seven people did not survive the blast, first responders confirmed.
The Berks County Deputy Coroner has identified all seven victims killed in the explosion as:
- Amy Sandoe, 49, of Ephrata Township, Pennsylvania
- Domingo Cruz, 60, of Reading, Pennsylvania
- Xiorky Nunez, 30, of Reading, Pennsylvania
- Susan Halvonik, 63, of Upper Providence Township, Pennsylvania
- Michael Breedy, 62, of Marion Township, Pennsylvania
- Diana Cedeno, 44, of Reading, Pennsylvania
- Judith Lopez-Moran, 55, of Reading, Pennsylvania
According to the company's website, R.M. palmer has been in business since 1948 and has more than 850 employees.
The company published a statement on its Facebook page, saying, in part:
"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. We have lost close friends and colleagues, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all who have been impacted. We are sincerely grateful for the extraordinary efforts of all of the first responders and for the support of our Reading community, which has been home to our business for more than 70 years. We will continue to coordinate closely with local and national agencies to assist in the recovery process."
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.