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Original post: An explosion at a West Reading chocolate factory has left two dead, several hospitalized and 9 unaccounted for as of Friday night, according to authorities.
The explosion happened just prior to 5pm, destroying R.M. Palmer Company building number two located at 17 S. 2nd Ave. and damaging the neighboring Palmer building number one located at 77 S. 2nd Ave.
Dozens of firefighters initially responded to the scene finding heavy fire, debris scattered throughout the area and many injured employees.
Officials say there is no danger to the surrounding area. However, they are urging residents to avoid the area and follow direction of law-enforcement and emergency personnel.
Search and rescue efforts will continue overnight. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.