Death toll up to 7 in R.M. Palmer chocolate factory explosion in Pennsylvania

The bodies of the remaining missing people in last week’s Pennsylvania chocolate factory explosion were found Sunday, bringing the death toll to seven, officials said.

Three of the victims were found dead following a news conference Sunday at which local officials vowed to continue their search efforts until everyone in the blast at an R.M. Palmer Co. building in West Reading was accounted for.

“Please understand that this is still a devastating loss,” West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag said in an announcement late Sunday. “But we are truly grateful to bring closure to the families involved in the upcoming days.”

The identities of the victims won’t be released until their families are informed, Kaag said.

Investigators have not determined what caused the explosion, which occurred Friday afternoon. West Reading is about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

“There will be three buildings condemned around the site, which is just a precaution as we move into the investigation phase to figure out what caused this and how we can prevent it from happening again,” Kaag said. “This does not mean they are slated for demolition or uninhabitable — simply that there will still be work happening around them as we proceed and will need to be looked at further by structural engineers before being released.”

Reading Hospital confirmed to the Daily News it received 10 patients from the factory, including one in good condition and another in fair condition. One patient was transferred to another medical center and the rest were released, a spokeswoman said.

Emergency responders used heat imaging equipment, drones and heavy equipment to remove debris during their search and rescue efforts, West Reading’s police chief said Sunday.

R.M. Palmer is “devastated” by the explosion, the company said.

“Our focus remains supporting our employees and their families, and our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted,” R.M. Palmer said. “We are truly grateful for the extraordinary efforts of all the first responders and emergency personnel and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of support from our local community.”