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West Reading chocolate factory explosion: Apartment building damaged by blast being demolished

Work began today to demolish an apartment building damaged by the fatal explosion of a West Reading chocolate factory last March.

Crews started the processes of dismantling the three-story building at 156 Penn Ave. Sitting on the corner of Penn Avenue and South Second Avenue, the brick and concrete structure is just feet from the site of an R.M. Palmer Co. chocolate plant that blew up on March 24, 2023.

The blast leveled the plant, known as Building 2, and killed seven men and women working inside.

The explosion also damaged the apartment building just north of the plant.

A notice sent Monday to borough residents from West Reading officials said the structure is in danger of collapse.

Because of that danger, the notice says, the building is being demolished. Crews will systematically disassemble the building starting today, the notice says.

The work may cause intermittent, partial lane restrictions or road closures on the eastbound side of Penn Avenue, the notice says. It will likely also create some other nuisances for those living near the site.

“We understand that this project may cause some disruptions to your daily life, particularly in terms of potential noise, dust and debris,” the notice says. “We want to assure you that we will take every precaution possible to minimize the impact of the demolition on your neighborhood.”

The notice does not state how long the demolition work is expected to last, but does say residents will receive updates on the progress of the project. Anyone with questions or concerns is asked to contact borough officials at 610-374-8273.

Borough officials did not immediately return messages seeking additional information about the project.

Source: Berkshire mont

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