On One Year Anniversary of Explosion, Governor Mills Directs Flags Lowered in Honor of Farmington Firefighters

September 15, 2020

Governor Janet Mills directed that the United States and State of Maine flags be lowered statewide tomorrow Wednesday, September 16, 2020 in recognition of the one year anniversary of the explosion in Farmington, which claimed the life of Farmington Fire Department Captain Michael Bell and injured several others.

“One year ago, I stood amid the wreckage of an explosion which had claimed the life of Captain Michael Bell, injured several others like Larry Lord, devastated my hometown of Farmington, and shook the entire State of Maine. While that September day was difficult for us all, it also once again revealed the character of Maine people, whose outpouring of support sustained our small community through its most challenging moments,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Today, as we honor Captain Bell, the Farmington Fire Department, every day heroes like Larry Lord, and all of our first responders who put their lives on the line to keep us safe, let us recommit to taking care of one another in times of hardship as we did then, rising a stronger people and a stronger state.”

An investigation conducted by the State Fire Marshall’s Office revealed that a severed gas line caused the explosion at the LEAP facility. In the wake of that news, Governor Mills instructed the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to determine if any fire departments in Maine lacked gas detection capabilities.

The Department of Public Safety, the Maine Fire Chief’s Association and the Maine Municipal Association surveyed all Maine fire departments to determine if they have a way to detect the presence of a gas leak while responding to a call. Using the Governor’s Contingent Account, Governor Mills purchased gas detection meters for all departments who have indicated they need one.

Governor Mills also signed LD 1892, “An Act To Make Changes to the So-called Dig Safe Law” sponsored by Representative Seth Berry, into law to require that liquefied propane gas distribution systems that have underground pipes are subject to the so-called dig safe law which prohibit digging around certain underground utility lines.