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Explosion in Pennesylvania

Explosion in Pennesylvania

RE: Explosion in Pennesylvania

This building appears to be gone.
17 S 2nd Ave West Reading, Pennsylvania
(Google Maps)

RM Palmer chocolate factory ABC News

RE: Explosion in Pennesylvania

It appears that there are deaths and serious injuries as a result of this incident:

Police: 2 Dead, 9 Missing In Penn Chocolate Factory Blast

An explosion at a chocolate factory in Pennsylvania Friday evening has killed two people and left several others missing as investigators begin to determine a cause.


John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Explosion in Pennesylvania

That is some powerful chocolate, or more likely a gas leak.
I have actually been there.

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P.E. Metallurgy, consulting work welcomed

RE: Explosion in Pennesylvania

Yes, I worked around bakery equipment for years (I worked for company that designed and manufactured machinery, such as mixers, proofers, ovens, coolers and conveyors systems for large commercial bakeries as well as flour handling systems) and there was always a concern for explosions due to flour dust. Whenever we had to do any electrical work or welding, you'd spend 10 times as much time cleaning-up the area, getting rid of any flour or starch that might have been spilled/leaked, as you'd end-up spending on the actual repair work. One of our engineers had been severely burned in the face and arms when a dust explosion occurred while he was working at one of our customer's bakeries. Two maintenance people were killed and he was scarred for life from the explosion (this happened several years before I started to work there, but you could see that his face and hands still carried the scars from that day).

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Explosion in Pennesylvania

I agree with EdStainless and MortenA ... Sugar Dust explosion is my guess..

(Recent news reports say that the blast dispaced nearby buildings 4 feet from foundation !)

After a few GOOGLE searches (which makes me an expert, of course), I learned that fat-layden cocoa dust will burn but but is reluctant to explode.

Sugar dust is a more powerful cousin to flour ...



Sr. Process Engineer

RE: Explosion in Pennesylvania

Sugar is often used for homemade solid rocket fuel, so definitely a possibility, although the destruction still seems awfully big for any accidental release of sugar dust, since conventional sugar is a bit on the grainy side.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Explosion in Pennesylvania

When working with powdered baking chocolate I prefer to use powdered sugar prior to making a paste or syrup. Powdered mixes in much better and prevents a grainy blend. The chocolate powder doesn't wet out well without the sugar.

RE: Explosion in Pennesylvania

Though if they were working with confection sugar that is another animal.
I have seen what grain dust explosions can do, leave a concrete silo as a couple of acres of gravel a few inches deep.
But this really looks extreme.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, consulting work welcomed

RE: Explosion in Pennesylvania

I had a talk with a fire protection expert at Marsh McLennan regarding dust explosions some years ago. His Take:
Dust Explosions often occur as 2 blasts. The first is usually relatively smaller, but shakes all of the available dust in the structure into the air. The second blast then feeds from a much larger supply of fuel, and so can be much larger than the first.

However in this case a dist explosion is likely not the initiating event although it may have made the blast worse than it otherwise would have been.

Quote (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/investigators...)

The National Transportation Safety Board opened a probe into Friday's blast at R.M. Palmer Co. that killed seven people, wounded several others and leveled the building in West Reading, a small town about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia. The agency has called it a natural gas explosion and fire.

RE: Explosion in Pennesylvania

I'll bet she did.
That's why we put oderizer in it.

If you smell it, do not panic. Please leave the building as quickly as possible in an orderly manner. Do not flip any light switches on the way out.

--Einstein gave the same test to students every year. When asked why he would do something like that, "Because the answers had changed."

RE: Explosion in Pennesylvania

Indeed, a simple and relatively foolproof safeguard that is completely ineffective when purposely ignored. Like with the Mayfield, KY tornado, this case reminds me of the importance of stop work authority in workplace safety- preferably as a matter of policy, but failing that as a matter of self-preservation.

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