Fatal Explosion Rocks RM Palmer Chocolate Factory
Sadly, several people were killed, and many were injured after a powerful Friday afternoon explosion destroyed much of a chocolate factory in West Reading, Pa.. The explosion sent a plume of smoke, ash and dust into the air, shaking houses blocks away, and damaged
several factory buildings.
What Time Did The Explosion Happen
The explosion at around 5 p.m. destroyed one building and damaged another at the R.M. Palmer Company chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania. West Reading is about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
This Was Not a Small Explosion
According to reports, “The explosion was so big that it moved that building four feet forward,” said Mayor Samantha Kaag, who is also a firefighter. She responded to the scene of the incident.
Hofmann & Schweitzer has experience in investigating and handling claims involving dust explosions. Many people do not realize that ordinary food dusts, wood dusts and even some metal dusts can, under the wrong circumstances, create violent explosions, endangering people and property.
Industry has created dust collection and explosion suppression systems that, if installed and functioning properly, can and should prevent an explosion from occurring, or at least minimize its effect.
We understand that the cause of the explosion is under investigation. It may not have been related to dusts, but looking at the photos and videos of the event, it suggests that maybe dusts may have been the culprit fuel.
Other common causes of a factory explosion can include:
Some chemical reactions can release heat, gas, or other substances that can build up pressure and cause an explosion. For example, if a certain chemical mixture is not properly handled, it can react and cause a sudden release of energy.
Machinery and equipment used in factories can malfunction or fail, leading to an explosion. For example, a boiler or pressure vessel can rupture due to overpressure, causing an explosion.
Accidents can occur due to human error, such as improper handling of equipment, failure to follow safety procedures, or lack of training. Even small mistakes can have catastrophic consequences in a factory setting.
Natural disasters such as earthquakes or floods can damage the infrastructure of a factory and cause explosions if gas lines or other hazardous materials are compromised.
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and industry groups, have studied the phenomena of dust explosions in the workplace for many years. Each have issued recommendations on how to reduce the threat of loss of life and property destruction in such events.
Our prayers are out to the families of the injured and deceased, and to the town itself.