Officials speak at a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Farmington following the explosion Monday at the LEAP building. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson

FARMINGTON — The Office of the Maine State Fire Marshal Farmington Police Department and Farmington Fire Rescue held a news conference Tuesday afternoon regarding yesterday’s Farmington Falls Road explosion that killed Capt. Mike Bell and left seven other people — including six firefighters — injured.

State Fire Marshal Sgt. Ken Grimes said the investigation into the explosion is ongoing.

“It’s a slow, methodical process that is going to take some time,” he said. “I do not have any answers at this time.”

Grimes said he hoped to have answers by the end of the week.

Farmington Police Chief Jack Peck said the disaster could have been a “more horrific tragedy” if a maintenance worker, Larry Lord, hadn’t emptied the building of a dozen or so workers when gas was detected.

Investigators retrieve the helmet of Fire Capt. Michael Bell from the rubble at 313 Farmington Falls Road in Farmington on Tuesday. Bell, 68, was killed in Monday’s propane explosion at the LEAP building. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

The explosion Monday leveled the two-story building that housed a nonprofit that serves people with cognitive and intellectual disabilities.


One firefighter was killed. The fire chief, five other firefighters, an ambulance worker and Lord were all injured.

Lord and three firefighters remain in critical condition at hospitals in Boston and Portland.


Firefighters, paramedics, law enforcement officers and local residents turned out Tuesday to salute Bell, who was killed in Monday’s propane explosion.

Scores of people lined the road and gathered outside a funeral home in Farmington as a hearse arrived Tuesday from the state medical examiner’s office with 68-year-old Bell’s body.

Downtown businesses closed for the procession. University of Maine at Farmington and the town hall closed for the day.

As of 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Maine Medical Center announced Terry Bell, Scott Baxter and Theodore Baxter were in critical condition. Timothy Hardy and Joseph Hastings were in fair condition, according to the hospital.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.