At least two people were killed and nine are missing after a massive explosion at a Pennsylvania chocolate factory on Friday, officials said.
A violent blast at the RM Palmer Company plant rocked the town of West Reading shortly before 5 p.m., local officials said.
At least eight people were hospitalized for medical attention.
A spokesperson for Reading hospital told NBC that of the eight patients, one was transferred, two were in fair condition and the rest had been released.
The cause of the blast remains under investigation, but officials said they believe it may have been the result of a gas leak, WPVI reported.
Video posted on social media showed the building violently explode, sending debris and flames flying into the sky.
Clips of the aftermath showed parts of the building laying out in the street as smoke continued to smolder from the remnants of the building.
“It’s pretty leveled, unfortunately there’s not too much to be able to salvage from it,” Mayor and local firefight Samantha Kaag told WPVI. “In the front, with the church and the apartments, the explosion was so big that it moved that building four feet forward.”
No residents were evacuated, but the mayor asked those within a one block of the blast to avoid the area.
Officials said there is no danger to the community, which is about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
The RP Palmer Company was founded in 1948 and is headquartered in West Reading.
The confectioner, one of the country’s largest, employees 850 people and specializes in holiday novelties like chocolate Easter bunnies, according to the company website.