Broken Chocolate

Survivor of R.M. Palmer Co. Factory Explosion Fell Into a Vat of Chocolate

April 1, 2023
The liquid extinguished a fire on her arm but broke her heels and collarbone; she was found nine hours later.

A woman who spent nine hours trapped in the rubble after a deadly explosion at the R.M. Palmer Co. factory may have been saved when she fell into a vat of liquid chocolate.

According to reports, Patricia Borges, who normally operates a machine in the factory, was instead doing maintenance just before 5 p.m. on March 24 when the explosion occurred. Her arm caught fire as flames engulfed the building, she told Associated Press, then she fell through the floor into the vat. While the chocolate extinguished her blazing arm, she broke her collarbone and both heels in the fall.

Seven of her co-workers were killed and 10 were taken to hospitals. The cause was still under investigation by noon April 1, but there were several reports that employees smelled natural gas minutes before the explosion.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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