Watch CBS News

Preliminary report of West Reading candy factory explosion investigation: NTSB

NTSB releases preliminary findings on West Reading candy factory explosion
NTSB releases preliminary findings on West Reading candy factory explosion 00:33

BERKS COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) – The National Transporation Safety Board released the preliminary report of the investigation of the West Reading candy factory explosion Tuesday. The release of the report is about a week after the Berks County Coroner's Office revealed the cause of death for the seven victims.

The preliminary report states seven people were killed, 11 people were injured and three families were displaced from a neighboring apartment building after the explosion on March 24.

NTSB officials say the explosion was natural gas-fueled and the fire destroyed Building 2 of the R.M. Palmer Company and caused structural damage to Building 1 next door and surrounding buildings.

According to the report, there were about 35 office staff and 70 production employees working in both buildings. Building 2 employees say they noticed an odor of natural gas when sanitizing equipment and Building 1 employees say they smelled rotten eggs around the same time, according to NTSB to postaccident interviews.

"After the explosion, emergency response units from the West Reading borough were joined by multiple emergency responders from adjoining communities to put out the fire and to conduct search and rescue efforts until the evening of March 26, when the last employee was accounted for," the report says.

The report further states natural gas to the buildings was proved by UGI Corporation through "two natural gas mains" close to the site of the explosion and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission regulated the two natural gas pipeline meter sets.

UGI officials say there wasn't any known work in the area at the time and no pressure spike in gas usage before the explosion.

The cost of damages from the explosion is unknown at this time.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.