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Governor Josh Shapiro visits site of West Reading explosion

Governor Shapiro visited the site of the chocolate plant explosion on Saturday morning, to pledge his support in the recovery efforts.

WEST READING, Pa. — Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and PEMA Director Randy Padfield visited the site of the West Reading chocolate plant explosion on Saturday morning, to pledge their support in the recovery efforts.

On Saturday, West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag and other local leaders briefed the governor on the situation, who promised to continue to help using all of the Commonwealth resources available.

In a press release from the governor's office, Shapiro expressed his condolences to the victims' families.

This morning, I was with West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag and local officials for an update on the RM Palmer factory explosion – and to pledge my Administration’s support as the community recovers. Lori and I thank the first responders, PEMA, and Pennsylvania State Police teams on the scene. Our hearts break for the families of those who didn’t come home. As West Reading continues to confront this tragedy this morning, the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania stands with this community. We are with you – and my Administration is here to provide all the resources and support West Reading needs.

The Shapiro Administration has been in close contact with local officials on the ground since Friday evening, working closely to coordinate and deploy all resources necessary to support the ongoing recovery efforts.

  • PEMA has worked to coordinate mutual aid resources with Berks County officials, mobilizing K-9s, structural engineers, and equipment.
  • Pennsylvania State Police have been on site coordinating requests for additional resources and personnel and working with local police departments as requested.
  • A team of structural engineers and K-9s from Pennsylvania’s Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue arrived on site yesterday evening and have been assisting in ongoing search and rescue operations.
  • Additional personnel from Pennsylvania Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue have arrived on site today. This personnel includes search and rescue specialists, structural engineering experts, planning specialists, heavy equipment specialists, and K-9s.
  • A Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshall has been deployed to the scene and is assisting in the investigation.

Shapiro has also been in direct contact with the West Reading Borough Council, Reading Mayor Eddie Moran, the Berks County Commissioners, State Representative Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, State Senator Judy Schwank, Congressman Dan Meuser, and Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan about the incident and West Reading’s recovery efforts.

The administration will continue working closely with local officials and law enforcement to provide support and additional resources to help the ongoing recovery efforts in West Reading.

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