Tragedy struck a Pennsylvania candy plant this week after an explosion claimed multiple lives and resulted in a number of missing workers.
According to the Washington Examiner, the explosion took place in West Reading, Pennsylvania, at the RM Palmer Company. The fire could be seen for miles, and smoke filled surrounding neighborhoods.
Tragically, the explosion took the lives of seven people, and multiple individuals are still missing, meaning the death toll could certainly rise.
Additionally, many workers were injured by the explosion and transported to local area hospitals for treatment.
Local officials called on the public to pray for the families of the deceased and of the missing workers.
West Reading Borough Chief of Police Wayne Holben asked for continued prayers from the community and vowed that rescuers and officials "will not rest until every single person affected by this tragedy has been accounted for" from the blast that occurred just before 5 p.m.
Reading, PA. A chocolate factory has blown up.
Police: 2 dead, 9 unaccounted for in Reading chocolate factory explosion pic.twitter.com/VxY65BlELJ
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) March 25, 2023
In addition to a large contingent of search and rescue personnel, dogs were also brought in to help find the missing workers.
— Tom Rader (@TomRaderTV) March 26, 2023
Rescue crews on the scene "methodically" used heavy equipment to help sift through the large, extremely heavy pieces of the infrastructure.
The scene was also flooded with family members and friends of those who were injured or went missing.
"We're holding onto faith and hope. It just gets more antagonizing as the time goes on," said Danny Wyatt, who hopes to learn of her cousin's fate.
Others described the explosion as it took place. "It was the loudest thing I've ever heard in my life," another person said. "It literally felt like the ground fell out from underneath you. The whole house shook and my dogs froze, they couldn't move, it was scary."
"It's pretty leveled, unfortunately, there's not too much to be able to salvage from it," said West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag. "In the front, with the church and the apartments, the explosion was so big that it moved that building four feet forward."