Gerry Pineau of Lewiston is full-time firefighter/paramedic at Westbrook Fire Rescue Department and part-time in Freeport and Scarborough. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

When Gerry Pineau heard about the deadly explosion at the LEAP Inc. facility on Sept. 16, he headed to the Farmington Fire Rescue Department to do what he could and remained to help out through the end of October.

Whatever the need was, he worked to find a solution to it.

Fire Capt. Michael Bell was killed in the explosion that critically or seriously injured six other firefighters and LEAP maintenance supervisor Larry Lord.

“I used to hangout with these guys when I was engaged and before I had kids. They taught me how to fight fires,” Pineau said.

Pineau, 42, of Lewiston, is a full-time firefighter/paramedic in the Westbrook Fire Rescue Department and part-time in the Freeport and Scarborough departments. He is a past fire chief of the Livermore Falls Fire Rescue Department and was in the Jay department when he learned to fight fires. He also teaches emergency medical technician classes.

A Jay High School graduate, he is the father of Trevor, 15, and Allie, 12, Pineau used vacation and comp time and received support from Freeport to help out in Farmington, where he worked under Acting Fire Chief Tim Hardy.


“Gerry was here from day one. He really organized all of our resources,” Hardy said.

He also helped get any type of supplies that were needed and food to feed firefighters and families, emergency responders and about 30 people who were displaced when the explosion damaged their mobile homes.

“He reached out and worked with many businesses and community organizations,” Hardy said.

Pineau’s duties ran the gamut at the fire house, from making sure the bathrooms were cleaned and stocked with toilet paper to tracking donations and ensuring they went to where Bell’s family wanted them to go, Pineau said.

He is the first to say he didn’t do it alone. It was a team effort. There were daily meetings with a number of representatives from town and Franklin County departments, Pineau said.

There were also more than 80 fire departments from around the state that helped out with Farmington coverage, not including individual firefighters from other departments.


Pineau also organized and coordinated the shifts of firefighters coming in, then gave them a daily briefing when shifts changed at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Hardy said.

When members of other departments came to help with code enforcement and public information, Hardy would tell them, if they had a question, to go to Pineau.

“Gerry was our superman without a cape,” said Nancy Kiernan, the wife of a Farmington firefighter.

“It didn’t make any difference if you need a hot dog or a helicopter, Gerry would make it happen,” said her husband, Jim Kiernan.

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