The majority of the 30 or so people displaced by a propane gas explosion in Farmington last month have found suitable housing, an official said Friday. Sun Journal file photo

FARMINGTON — The majority of the 30 or so people dislocated when their residences were destroyed or heavily damaged by the Farmington explosion last month have found suitable housing, Lisa Park Laflin, executive director of the United Way of the Tri Valley Area, said Friday.

Some may be in an apartment without a lease or staying with family while looking for permanent housing, she said.

“No one is in a hotel,” she said.

The dozens of people represent several families, including children, who lost their homes Sept. 16 when a propane gas explosion occurred at the LEAP central office building at 313 Farmington Falls Road. One Farmington firefighter was killed, six other firefighters and LEAP’s maintenance supervisor were seriously or critically injured.

Two firefighters and the maintenance supervisor, Larry Lord, remain in the hospital. Maine Medical Center in Portland announced Friday that Chief Terry Bell’s condition was upgraded from fair to satisfactory, while Capt. Scott Baxter’s condition was upgraded from serious to fair. Lord remains in critical condition at a Massachusetts hospital.

Laflin said Friday that the The United Way Explosion Fund has reached more than $140,000. It is set up to help those affected by the explosion, including LEAP employees, firefighters and their families and those displaced by the explosion.

A committee of town officials, Franklin County Emergency Management Agency staff, firefighter and police representatives, United Way, community members, businesspersons and LEAP representatives, among others, decide on the disbursement of the funds. The chairwoman is Megan Goodine.

Guidance in this process is also being provided by Maine Emergency Management Agency.

Nearly $70,000 was dispersed in the first phase to people who were displaced and LEAP employees who were affected. Representatives of the American Red Cross, Franklin County Emergency Management Agency, United Way and the town helped identify the families affected, and determined and meet their needs.

Another meeting is scheduled next week.

There are many fundraising events and benefits that have taken place or will, including in Boston, Portland and locally.

“The community is grateful for the support of all three funds that have been established,” Laflin said.

Besides the United Way fund, there are also the Farmington Firemen’s Benevolent Association and the Farmington Disaster Relief fund. To learn how to donate, go to the town website at farmington-maine.org/

There is also a GoFundMe account set up to help LEAP maintenance supervisor Lord of Jay. He was burned over half of his body and has several critical injuries. The link is www.gofundme.com/f/support-for-larry-lord.


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