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Five Dead, Six Missing in Factory Explosion in Pennsylvania

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An explosion at a chocolate factory in the US state of Pennsylvania killed at least five people and left six others missing. emergency services said on Saturday as search workers continued to search through the wreckage for survivors.

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency said the explosion occurred Friday at the RM Palmer Company plant in West Reading, a town about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia.

PEMA said an investigation would be conducted to determine the cause of the explosion and that the initial accident report included a mention of a gas leak.

She added that seven other people were taken to local hospitals with injuries. PEMA did not provide details of the search and rescue operations.

Pictures on social media of the aftermath of the blast showed a huge pile of debris and flames that sent large columns of thick black smoke billowing into the downtown area, surrounded by other buildings.

The RM Palmer Company was founded in 1948. According to its website, it employs 850 people and produces 500 unique chocolate and candy products.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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