'A battle zone': Propane explosion kills firefighter, injures Eight others, ranges constructing in Maine

A firefighter was killed and eight individuals had been injured Monday when a robust propane explosion destroyed a brand new constructing in Farmington, Maine.

Hearth crews had been responding to a name reporting the scent of gasoline within the constructing, which was evacuated, Farmington City Selectman Scott Landry stated. 

The blast had such power that solely particles remained from the two-story constructing, which housed a nonprofit group known as LEAP that serves individuals with cognitive and mental disabilities.

“It’s a battle zone,” Landry stated. “It’s only a mess. The constructing is gone.”

Maine public security officers stated the fallen firefighter, 68-year-old Hearth Capt. Michael Bell, was a 30-year member of the Farmington Hearth Division.

His brother, Hearth Chief Terry Bell, and 4 different firefighters are being handled at Maine Medical Middle in Portland, about 70 miles away.

Officers stated 4 of the 5 are within the intensive care unit. One other firefighter had much less extreme accidents and was handled and launched, as was an ambulance employee. A LEAP worker was taken to Massachusetts Basic Hospital in Boston.

A police officer stands guard on the scene of a lethal propane explosion that leveled a brand new constructing in Farmington, Maine.

The explosion round 8:30 a.m. EDT was heard for miles and was robust sufficient to blow a automobile throughout an intersection. Paper, insulation and constructing particles rained on the world. Close by buildings had been broken and a number of other companies shut down.

Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols stated the closest comparability he may make was what he noticed in war-torn Iraq throughout the yr he spent as an adviser to the nation’s nationwide police halfway via final decade.

“It was simply whole devastation. I’ve by no means seen destruction like that in my profession,” Nichols stated. “I’ve been in regulation enforcement 35 years. I’ve by no means seen something like this earlier than in my life, besides abroad. It was horrible.”

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Kim Hilton works on the close by College of Maine. “It felt like somebody hit our constructing with a automobile,” she stated.

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Farmington resident Jacob Gage instructed CNN the constructing the place he lives shook and misplaced energy. He stated his stepfather, a firefighter and city worker, was the primary to reach on the website of the blast.

“The scene was very ominous,” Gage instructed the community. “There was nonetheless insulation falling from the sky like a delicate snow, and first responders had been working round attempting to manage first assist.”

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LEAP employee Lisa Charles, who lives down the road from the blast, stated she was at dwelling together with her children and feared the worst when she noticed particles falling from the sky.

“I do know everyone in there. I believed for certain everyone was gone,” she stated. “They obtained a warning from the upkeep man who was a hero for telling them to evacuate.”

Maine Gov. Janet Mills hails from Farmington, and her workplace stated she knew Michael Bell. Mills tweeted her condolences and stated in an announcement she visited the location of the accident and the fireplace division. She stated the State Hearth Marshal’s Workplace will examine.

“Farmington is a robust, close-knit and resilient group, of which I’m proud to be half,” stated Mills, who ordered the state’s flags to be flown at half-staff. “This loss is devastating and felt by all of Maine.”

Farmington, with a inhabitants of seven,600, is about 70 miles north of Portland.

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