Shapiro Administration Secures U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Declaration for Businesses Impacted by R.M. Palmer Factory Explosion

Declaration gives affected small businesses access to low-interest loans

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Josh Shapiro announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has granted an administrative declaration of a disaster for the businesses impacted by the R.M. Palmer factory explosion in West Reading, PA.

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides low-interest loans for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations. The SBA can provide up to $2 million to help businesses meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred. The SBA tailors the repayment of each disaster loan to the borrower’s financial capability.

At least five small businesses in the disaster area have sustained substantial economic injury as a result of the disaster and will be eligible to seek financial assistance.

“I was in West Reading meeting with local officials and community members immediately following the factory explosion, and I promised that my Administration would be there for the long-term to help them recover and rebuild,” said Governor Shapiro. “That’s why we worked with the federal government to open up access to these low-interest loans, so that businesses can recoup unforeseen losses and ensure West Reading remains a vibrant city. My heart goes out to the people impacted by this tragedy, and the Shapiro Administration will continue to provide the resources and support West Reading needs.”

Following the explosion, Governor Shapiro deployed the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) to support emergency response, search, and rescue efforts. The Governor visited the site of the explosion the following day, and his Administration been in close contact with officials in West Reading since the beginning of the incident.

Governor Shapiro wrote a letter to the SBA requesting disaster loan assistance following information provided by PEMA, who worked with Berks County to conduct sample surveys of the affected businesses to determine the economic impact of the disaster.

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