West Reading chocolate factory explosion: Coroner releases causes of death for the 7 victims

Apr. 25—Berks County officials have issued provisional causes of death for the seven victims of an explosion at a West Reading chocolate factory.

The R.M. Palmer Co. plant on South Second Avenue exploded just before 5 p.m. March 24.

In a press release issued Tuesday, Coroner John Fielding announced the preliminary cause of death for six of the victims was blast injuries suffered in the explosion while one died of thermal burns:

—Xiorky D. Nunez, 30, Reading, died of thermal burns.

—Susan H. Halvonik, 63, Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County, died of blast injuries.

—Michael D. Breedy, 62, Marion Township died of blast injuries.

—Diana M. Cedeno, 44, Reading, died of blast injuries.

—Judith Lopez-Moran, 55, Reading, died of blast injuries.

—Amy Sandoe, 49, Ephrata, died of blast injuries.

—Domingo Cruz, 60, Reading, died of blast injuries.

Fielding cautioned that the findings from forensic pathologist Dr. Neil A. Hoffman are preliminary. He said forensic medical

examinations are continuing as part of an open and active death investigation to determine the final cause and manner of death for all victims, in conjunction with various federal and state agencies.

The cause of the fatal blast has not been determined. State police and the National Transportation Safety Board have said they are investigating the incident.