A large explosion has occurred while firefighters were responding to a smell of propane at a nonprofit for people with disabilities in Maine, local officials and witnesses say. One firefighter was killed and at least seven others were injured.
The explosion happened at about 8:30 a.m. on Monday when fire crews were responding to a propane leak at 313 Farmington Falls Road in Farmington. The location is home to LEAP, a private nonprofit which provides services to people with developmental, cognitive and intellectual disabilities.
Footage from the scene shows that the building was completely destroyed in Monday’s explosion, which covered the area in debris and was heard and felt for miles. One firefighter was killed in the explosion and at least seven others were injured, including 4 firefighters, 1 EMT, and 1 LEAP employee.
It was not immediately clear if any employees or clients were still inside the building when the powerful explosion occurred. The initial report about a smell of propane was called in by LEAP employees, and the building was reportedly being evacuated while fire crews responded to the scene.
“I am closely monitoring the explosion in Farmington and have instructed the Department of Public Safety to keep me apprised of the situation,” Maine Governor Janet Mills said. “Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this tragedy, especially to the loved ones of the firefighter lost and others injured. I am grateful for the work of first responders who are at the scene and urge Maine people to avoid the area.”
Farmington is a town in Franklin County, about 28 miles northwest of Augusta or 68 miles northeast of Portland.
Video of the scene here in Farmington. This is courtesy of Bob Rose.— Taylor Gleason (@TaylorGWGME) September 16, 2019
I just spoke with Rose and he said it felt like a bomb hit the street at 8:30 this morning. His auto shop is half a mile down the street. pic.twitter.com/aOliO6Lg0U