A paraglider soars over the Farmington Town Office on Thursday night to get a different perspective of the return home of Farmington Fire Rescue Capt. TD Hardy. Hardy was injured Monday in the explosion that leveled the LEAP Inc. building on the Farmington Falls Road. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen on Thursday night unanimously approved a special referendum, set for Tuesday, Nov. 5, to allow voters to decide on replacing one of the town’s firetrucks.

State statute allows municipal officers to order an issue to be put to a secret ballot vote.

The replacement of Farmington Fire Rescue’s Engine 1, a pumper truck, had been discussed previously by the board.

“The estimated cost is $800,000,” Davis said. “The question authorizes the expenditure of $300,000 from equipment reserve, which leaves $500,000 to borrow.

“That may not be the exact cost. We will shop around for the best rate. The estimate from our bank gives the total cost over the 10-year life of the bond to be $582,500.”

A public hearing on the proposed purchase is scheduled for Oct. 8.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Joshua Bell asked how much would be left in the equipment reserve account after buying the firetruck.

Davis said $48,000 had been approved Sept. 10 for repairs to Engine 2. That firetruck sustained some damage in an explosion Monday at the LEAP office building on Route 2.

“There will be about $6,000 left until next year, when it can be replenished,” Davis said. “It will be pretty well depleted.”

Bids for the new truck are due Friday, Sept. 20.

Davis said the town has received one bid so far. He is hoping for another.

Selectmen held a moment of silence at the beginning of the meeting to remember Capt. Michael Bell, who was killed Monday morning in the explosion, and the injured firefighters and residents who were left homeless by the explosion Monday morning. Bell, 68, was the uncle of Joshua Bell, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.

Applause breaks out Thursday as spectators watch the procession returning Farmington Fire Rescue Capt. Timothy “TD” Hardy to the station. Hardy was hospitalized in Portland for injuries suffered when the LEAP building exploded Monday morning. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

In other matters, Davis said he is trying to work through things in the explosion’s aftermath. He noted:

  • Cleanup of Bjorn Park will begin Friday by Ted Berry employees.
  • The Maine Department of Environmental Protection installed air quality monitors that have shown readings to be below the technical limits. Monitoring will continue during cleanup of the explosion site.
  • The Office of the Maine State Fire Marshal has concluded its investigation.

“We’ve had excellent support from fire departments all over the state,” Davis Said. “Contributions are pouring in. Franklin Savings Bank is matching the two accounts up to $10,000. We’ve already reached that level for the Firemen’s Benevolent Fund.”

Selectman Stephan Bunker, a member of the Fire/Rescue Department, said there’s been a flurry of fundraising activity going on. People need to be cautious, especially about giving credit card information over the phone.

“Scammers are going to be out there,” he said.


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