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An explosion at a Pennsylvania chocolate factory kills at least 2

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

In West Reading, Pa., late Friday afternoon, a massive explosion blew apart a chocolate factory known for making chocolate Easter bunnies. The blast killed at least two people, and five more are missing. Gabriela Martinez of member station WITF has more from the scene of the explosion.

GABRIELA MARTINEZ, BYLINE: Emergency crews have been on the scene since shortly after the explosion. Rescue teams are using dogs and imaging equipment to locate victims. There are piles of rubble on the street. Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro visited the site, along with Pennsylvania's Emergency Management Agency director, and vowed to deploy any and all Commonwealth resources for the recovery efforts. Police Chief Wayne Holben briefed reporters.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

WAYNE HOLBEN: The discovery of life overnight - of the overnight recovery efforts provides hope that others still may be found.

MARTINEZ: West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag issued a declaration of emergency in the early morning hours.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SAMANTHA KAAG: Search and rescue efforts continue to push forward. The community has continued to support the victims.

MARTINEZ: Luis Martinez (ph) lives down the street from the factory and heard the explosion.

LUIS MARTINEZ: The whole foundation was shaking. You know, everyone's here. Like, literally, I - the way it felt from inside - I was literally in my living room - it felt like the whole house was coming down. You know, that's how, literally, it felt. And it took me a couple of seconds to gather my awareness of exactly what the heck was happening.

MARTINEZ: He ran out to help victims on the street, who are now recovering in the hospital.

MARTINEZ: I'm just concerned for the people that are still in there.

MARTINEZ: The search goes on for those people who are still missing, and the cause of the explosion is still being investigated. For NPR News, I'm Gabriela Martinez in West Reading, Pa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Gabriela Martínez