Propane explosion kills firefighter, injures 6 others | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Propane explosion kills firefighter, injures 6 others

Associated Press
1680906_web1_web-firetruck3

FARMINGTON, Maine — A powerful propane explosion leveled a recently opened nonprofit center after crews arrived to investigate the smell of gas Monday morning, killing one firefighter and injuring six other people, including fellow firefighters, officials said.

The building had been evacuated after the gas was detected, said Farmington Town Selectman Scott Landry. One firefighter was killed.

The blast injured four other firefighters, including the town’s fire chief; one employee of the nonprofit center; and one ambulance worker, officials said. Landry had previously said all six of the injured were firefighters.

The blast around 8:30 a.m. was heard for miles and had enough force to blow a vehicle across an intersection. Paper, insulation and building debris rained on the area.

All that was left of the two-story building housing LEAP Inc., which serves people with cognitive and intellectual disabilities, was a hole, Landry said.

“It’s a war zone. It’s just a mess,” said Landry, who is also a state representative. “The building is gone.”

Kim Hilton, who works in the admissions department at the nearby University of Maine at Farmington, said there were scary moments when the blast occurred.

“It felt like someone hit our building with a vehicle,” she said.

The ambulance worker was treated and released, state public safety spokesman Steve McCausland said.

The other five were taken to regional trauma centers, including the state’s largest hospital, Maine Medical Center in Portland, and remained hospitalized Monday afternoon, officials said. Their conditions weren’t released.

Gov. Janet Mills, who is from Farmington and whose office said she knew the firefighter who died, said on Twitter that the state fire marshal’s office will investigate.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of as much as we possibly can to protect this community, to protect all other communities and make sure this doesn’t happen again,” she said.

The 40-by-60-foot (12-by-18-meter), two-story building, which served as the administrative offices for LEAP, opened eight to 10 weeks ago and wasn’t yet fully staffed, Landry said.

The smell of gas was detected and the building evacuated before most workers had arrived for the day, he said.

Farmington is about 70 miles north of Portland.

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.