Governor Josh Shapiro Visits Site of Explosion in West Reading, Pledges Continued Support and Commonwealth Resources in Ongoing Recovery Efforts

Governor deployed the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) to support emergency response, search and rescue efforts.

West Reading, PA – Today, Governor Josh Shapiro and PEMA Director Randy Padfield visited the site of the explosion that took place yesterday evening at the RM Palmer Company in West Reading, Pennsylvania. This morning, Governor Shapiro was briefed by West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag and local leaders on the explosion and pledged any and all Commonwealth resources needed to support ongoing recovery efforts – in addition to the extensive assets that have already been deployed. 

West Reading borough officials are directing residents requesting information on the incident to call the West Reading Police Department at 610-373-0111.

“This morning, I was with West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag and local officials for an update on the RM Palmer factory explosion – and to pledge my Administration’s support as the community recovers,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “Lori and I thank the first responders, PEMA, and Pennsylvania State Police teams on the scene. Our hearts break for the families of those who didn’t come home. As West Reading continues to confront this tragedy this morning, the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania stands with this community. We are with you – and my Administration is here to provide all the resources and support West Reading needs.” 

Since the beginning of the incident on Friday evening, the Shapiro Administration has been in close contact with local officials on the ground, working closely to coordinate and deploy all resources necessary to support the ongoing recovery efforts. From the start of the incident: 

  • PEMA has worked to coordinate mutual aid resources with Berks County officials, mobilizing K-9s, structural engineers, and equipment. 
  • Pennsylvania State Police have been on site coordinating requests for additional resources and personnel and working with local police departments as requested. 
  • A team of structural engineers and K-9s from Pennsylvania’s Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue arrived on site yesterday evening and have been assisting in ongoing search and rescue operations. 
  • Additional personnel from Pennsylvania Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue has arrived on site today. This personnel includes search and rescue specialists, structural engineering experts, planning specialists, heavy equipment specialists, and K-9s. 
  • A Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshall has been deployed to the scene and is assisting in the investigation. 

Governor Shapiro has also been in direct contact with the West Reading Borough Council, Reading Mayor Eddie Moran, the Berks County Commissioners, State Representative Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, State Senator Judy Schwank, Congressman Dan Meuser, and Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan about the incident and West Reading’s recovery efforts. 

The Shapiro Administration will continue working closely with local officials and law enforcement to provide support and additional resources to help the ongoing recovery efforts in West Reading.   


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