RICHMOND TWP., Pa. — Firefighters battled a large fire at East Penn Manufacturing in Berks County.

The fire was reported around 4 p.m. Tuesday on a parking lot of the 520-acre complex in Richmond Township.

A thick plume of black smoke billowed into the air above the scene. At the height of the fire, the smoke could be seen from Reading and its surrounding suburbs, at least 16 miles away, and from Quakertown in Bucks County, approximately 28 miles away.

Officials from Walnuttown Fire Company said plastic battery cases were on fire. The flames reportedly spread to a nearby wooded area, so officials on the scene requested the response of multiple brush trucks.

There were no immediate reports of any buildings being on fire or anyone being injured.

On its website, East Penn bills itself as operating the world's "largest single-site, lead battery manufacturing facility." It is also Berks County's largest employer, with a workforce of more than 7,000 people.

So far, the company has not commented. We're told a state police fire marshal is investigating.

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