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Deadly Maine Explosion Caused by Leak in Propane Line, State Fire Marshal Says

The devastating explosion killed a Farmington fire captain and hurt six firefighters and a LEAP maintenance worker

Officials in Maine revealed Friday that a leak in propane line was behind the Sept. 16 explosion that demolished a building in Farmington, killing one firefighter and injuring several other people. 

The State Fire Marshal's Office said investigators found a significant leak in the line, which ran from the basement of a facility for disabled people to an outside propane tank. Authorities continued to investigate what sparked the leaked propane, causing the massive explosion. 

The propane tank at the LEAP building had been filled on Sept. 13, but was found empty on the morning of Sept. 16, the fire marshall's office said. That morning, maintenance supervisor Larry Lord and a second LEAP employee inspected the tank.  

Investigators believe the odor of the propane was masked because a portion of it was buried under the parking lot. 

The devastating explosion killed 68-year-old Fire Capt. Michael Bell, a 30-year veteran of the department. Six other firefighters were injured and have since been discharged from the hospital. Lord, the LEAP maintenance worker, was also seriously hurt.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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