Woman survives factory explosion after falling into vat of chocolate

A Pennsylvania woman was able to survive an explosion at a chocolate factory that killed seven people earlier this month, after falling into a vat of liquid chocolate, which extinguished her burning arm.

"When I began to burn, I thought it was the end for me," Patricia Borges told the Associated Press.

The employee of the RM Palmer Company factory in West Reading, which suffered a catastrophic explosion on 24 March, had to wait for hours with a broken collarbone and broken heels before being rescued by a search team.

"I asked God why he was giving me such a horrible death," she told the AP. "I asked him to save me, that I didn’t want to die in the fire."

The 50-year-old said just before the explosion, she smelled gas and asked a supervisor if she should evacuate, but was told to return to work while higher-ups made a decision.

The National Transportation Safety Board has opened an investigation into the explosion, which federal investigators have said may have been caused by natural gas.

"NTSB is continuing to gather evidence about how the building was supplied with natural gas and point of ignition, interview witnesses, examine the pipeline for fractures, any damage to pipeline, a chronology of events leading up to the explosion, among other issues that may come up as the investigation continues," an agency spokesperson said earlier this week.

Pennsylvania state police are also investigating the blast.

The Independent has contacted RM Palmer for comment.

On Friday, community members in West Reading held a vigil for the seven victims of the incident, which injured another 10 people.

"It’s been tough. One of my girlfriends was Sue, who passed away. We had the funeral today... It’s been tough," Bambi Cipolla, an RM Palmer employee, told WPVI.

Ms Borges told the AP she hopes her experience will help prevent future accidents like the one at the factory, which killed her close friend Judith Lopez-Moran.

"I wanted to speak so that this will be prevented in the future," she said. "For my colleague Judy, I want there to be justice."