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AP obtains first account by survivor of chocolate factory explosion

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Mike Rubinkam, Acacia Coronado and Patrick Orsagos collaborated on an exclusive interview with the only survivor rescued from the site of the Pennsylvania chocolate factory explosion that killed seven people. The Spanish-speaking worker Patricia Borges recounted — via Zoom from her hospital bed — the terrifying ordeal, including how falling into a vat of chocolate helped extinguish her burning arm. “When I began to burn, I thought it was the end for me,” Borges, 50, told the AP. Rubinkam arranged for a Zoom interview with one of her relatives acting as translator and arranged for video journalist Orsagos to also be on the call and produce the video. The coverage leveraged critical cross-region collaboration as Texas reporter Coronado translated the interview afterward for publication. Rubinkam also secured photos from the family and had provided footage from the site in West Reading. The exclusive pulled in 120,000 page views on APNews, gained nearly a quarter of a million interactions on Facebook and still had top billing in Google days after under the search for “chocolate factory explosion.”

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