A prayer service was held Monday night at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Farmington for those affected by an explosion earlier in the day. An unidentified firefighter at left and Livermore Fire Chief Donald Castonguay were among those attending. Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden























FARMINGTON — Hundreds of people turned out from across the region Monday night to pray for the victims, families and friends of those affected by an explosion at 313 Farmington Falls Road earlier in the day.

The explosion at the newly renovated LEAP, Inc. building claimed the life of Farmington Fire Rescue Captain Michael Bell.

At a prayer service Monday night at St. Joseph Catholic Church Deidre Becher played Amazing Grace on the violin. Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden

Chief Terry Bell Sr., Michael’s brother, and LEAP maintenance worker Larry Lord of Jay were seriously injured and taken by LifeFlight to hospital.

Also injured were Capt. Tim “TD” Hardy; Capt. Scott Baxter, and his father, firefighter Theodore Baxter; and firefighter Joseph Hastings.

Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Clyde Ross was treated for injuries and released from Franklin Memorial Hospital.

Father Paul Dumais said the impromptu service at St. Joseph’s would begin with the daily bell ringing at 6 p.m.

Dumais led the responsive reading of the Angelus and Max Becher led the Litany of St. Joseph.

Petitions and prayer requests from attendees included, “Consolation for the family and friends of the lost firefighter…Healing of our community…More community support in the days, weeks and months ahead…The first responders who put their lives on the line every day.”

Dozens attended the prayer service held Monday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Farmington following an explosion that claimed the life of one firefighter and injured several others. Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden

Dumais said, “We come here first and foremost to pray, acknowledge the difficulty and pain experienced throughout the community. Those who were involved, those who rushed to serve.

“Even our own parishioner Larry Lord, who helped evacuate those at LEAP, now in Boston.”

Dumais recognized the great courage of first responders in protecting others and the solidarity all bear.

“St. Josephs, the other ecumenical churches will respond in the ways we can. We begin here with prayer so our hearts can expand,” he said.

Dumais spoke of the moving procession that formed to transport Capt. Bell’s body to Augusta. He compared it to firefighters’ movements in the wake of 9-11.

“Procession is a bodily prayer,” he said. “When we process in to this little church to be strengthened by God.

“When we process out, we’re better able to express our love. When we process to Old South Congregational Church we stand together and with those who have suffered a deep loss today in a profound way.”

An explosion at 313 Farmington Falls Road claimed the life of a Farmington firefighter and injured seven others Monday. A candlelight vigil was held at Old South Congregational Church that evening. Pictured in front are Reverend Sara Bartlett of Auburn at left and Rev. Margaret Proctor of Wilton. Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden

At Old South candles were shared with attendees until they ran out. Member Ed David said the church seats 300. Before the service started most of the pews were filled and several stood at the back of the church.

Reverend Sara Bartlett, pastor of the Alfred United Church of Christ opened the candlelight vigil with a few words. A resident of Auburn, she is the best friend of Old South’s pastor Rev. Maraine Kettrell who is hiking in Spain.

Rev. Margaret Proctor, a retired minister now of Wilton, gave a short prayer.

“We gather here in shock and dismay, to support all victims of today’s tragedy, as well as their families, friends and anyone affected,” she said. “You grant us solace. This is too reminiscent of another event 18 years ago this month. People came together then, may it also be so here in Farmington.

“In spite of this tragedy, this town will rebuild both physically and spiritually and come together.”

After sitting quietly for a time in the dimly lit sanctuary, people began to move quietly to the back of the church to make way for others standing outside. Many gathered outside the church to hug one another, place a hand on a shoulder and talk quietly about their personal experiences from the day.

Impromptu services were held at St. Joseph Catholic and Old South Congregational churches Monday after an explosion earlier in the day killed one firefighter and injured others. Father Paul Dumais and several parishioners from the catholic church processed to the candlelight service later at Old South. Dumais is seen at left with others who had attended the latter service. Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden

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