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Rescuers find 4th body after US chocolate factory blast

Four people have died and three others remain missing following an explosion at a chocolate factory in Pennsylvania

March 27, 2023
27 March 2023

A fourth body has been found by rescue crews two days after a powerful blast at a chocolate factory shook a small town in Pennsylvania. Three people are still missing.

West Reading Borough Chief of Police Wayne Holben confirmed the body of a fourth victim was found under debris early on Sunday at the R.M. Palmer Co. plant in the borough of West Reading, about 96 kilometres northwest of Philadelphia.

Rescue crews have been using heat imaging equipment and dogs to search for possible survivors after the blast destroyed one building and damaged a neighbouring building. Crews were now using heavy equipment to carefully pull debris from the site, Holben said.

Borough Fire Chief Chad Moyer said on Saturday night that the chance of finding survivors was “decreasing rapidly” due to the explosion’s force and the amount of time that had passed.

Officials said they had no update on the condition of a woman pulled alive from the rubble early on Saturday. Kaag said she had apparently been on the second floor and was found in a “hopeful circumstance,” calling out to rescuers despite her injuries after a dog located her.

Officials also reported no updates on the conditions of those taken to hospitals. Reading Hospital said it received 10 patients and transferred two to other facilities, while two others were admitted in good and fair condition respectively and the others had been discharged.

State and local fire investigators are continuing to examine the scene to try to determine the cause of the blast.

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