Officials confirm death of one firefighter at Farmington explosion scene

FARMINGTON, Maine (WABI) A Farmington selectman tells our media partner WMTW-TV that a firefighter has died in the explosion on Farmington Falls Road.

Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols said many other firefighters were injured in the explosion. According to Selectboard member H. Scott Landry, 6 people have been taken to the hospital: 5 firefighters + 1 civilian.

The explosion happened at 313 Farmington Falls Road, which is also Route 2. The building is the central office for LEAP Inc., which provides support for people with developmental, cognitive and intellectual disabilities.

Landry tells our media partner, WMTW that the LEAP building was a few months old. Firefighters responded to a smell of propane.

According to planning board records, it looks like the LEAP building was a home that had been renovated to be the organization's central office and training space.

Pictures from the scene showed a building in ruins.

Witnesses reported seeing rubble everywhere and smoke in the sky.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office, working with the Farmington Police and Fire Departments, has released the names of the victims of the explosion in Farmington. Killed was Farmington Fire Captain Michael Bell, who was 68, and a 30-year member of the fire department.

The six other Farmington Firefighters injured were –

Fire Chief Terry Bell , 62, who is the brother of Michael Bell.

Captain Timothy D. Hardy, 40,

Captain Scott Baxter, 37, and his father, Firefighter Theodore Baxter, 64,

Firefighter Joseph Hastings, 24,

and Deputy Fire Chief Clyde Ross, who was treated and released from Franklin Memorial Hospital. The five other injured firefighters are being treated at Maine Medical Center in Portland and all sustained serious injuries.

Chief Bell, Hardy, Scott Baxter, and Hastings are full-time members of the fire department. Michael Bell, Theodore Baxter, and Ross are part-time firefighters.

Also injured in the explosion was 60-year-old Larry Lord, a maintenance worker at the facility. Lord was flown to Mass General Hospital in Boston.

Fire Investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office will be joined by fire investigators from ATF and will begin processing the scene Tuesday to pinpoint the source of the explosion. Firefighters had been called to the building along Route 2 at 8:07 AM for a propane smell in the building. The explosion took place minutes later. The two-story building, with a new addition, recently opened, was flattened.