Judges Require Utility Co. Records Regarding Chocolate Company Explosion

In the past, the company has refused to turn over the records.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

April 18, 2024

1 Min Read
Judges Require Utility Co. Records Regarding Chocolate Company Explosion
The blast at the chocolate factory in March 2023 killed 7 people.Jose Luis Pelaez / Stone via Getty Images

Pennsylvania utility regulators must turn over inspection records to the National Transportation Safety Board as part of the federal agency’s probe into a fatal explosion at a chocolate factory last year, a federal judge ruled this week.

US District Judge Christopher C. Conner sided with the federal safety board in its dispute with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, which had refused to produce inspection and investigation reports for UGI Utilities Inc, reported local Midland Daily News.

UGI is a natural gas utility at the center of the probe into the March 24, 2023, blast at the R.M. Palmer Co. plant in West Reading, PA. The massive natural gas explosion leveled one building, heavily damaged another, and killed seven people. Investigators have previously said they are looking at a pair of gas leaks as a possible cause of or contributor to the blast.

State utility regulators had refused the federal agency's request for five years' worth of UGI inspection records, citing a state law that protects “confidential security information” about key utility infrastructure from public disclosure, even to other government agencies.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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