Explosion at Chocolate Factory

Risk Logic Inc. (RLI) is a consulting engineering company that provides Loss Prevention Services. Since 1997, we have been working in regions all over the world utilizing the most advanced and current standards.

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April 12th, 2023

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

On March 24th, 2023, a massive explosion occurred at a busy chocolate factory in Pennsylvania just before 5 PM. The blast destroyed the entire building and damaged others nearby. The explosion killed seven people, and several others were wounded.

The cause of this explosion is still under investigation, but Federal safety investigators are inspecting the natural gas pipeline for any cracks and other possible damages by probe. The National Transportation Safety Board will continue to collect evidence to determine how the building received natural gas and where the ignition originated. Employees detected the smell of natural gas just before the explosion but did not report it to the gas company.

R.M. Palmer Chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania, prior to March 24th

R.M. Palmer Co. has specialized in making seasonal chocolate since 1948. The company has over 550 employees who design, produce, package, and ship more than 500 different products. It is one of America’s largest and most innovative candy makers.

While the preliminary investigation may indicate natural gas played a role in this tragedy, the blast brings to light the combustibility of food plants, specifically confectionery production. Many ingredients including sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch are explosive risks. Food plants and confectionery manufacturers should take action to mitigate the risk of explosions from dust. There are conventional methods to manage dust, which may involve using dust collectors or commercial vacuums.

At Risk Logic, we can help you with property loss prevention measures that could help mitigate or eliminate these significant losses; please contact us.