Franklin Countys First News

Farmington Fire Chief Terry Bell returns home

A procession escorts Chief Terry Bell home to Farmington. (Photo by Rachel Decker)

Chief Terry Bell (Photo from the Town of Farmington website)

FARMINGTON - The chief of Farmington Fire Rescue returned to the fire station Tuesday evening, three weeks after a propane gas explosion destroyed the LEAP Inc. building, killed a firefighter and injured several other people.

Chief Terry Bell was discharged from Maine Medical Center in Portland Tuesday, returning home with a procession of emergency vehicles similar to the one that escorted three other firefighters back to Farmington.

Bell's condition was listed as "satisfactory" on Saturday, an improvement from the previously listed "fair" designation. Previously released from MMC was Capt. Timothy "TD" Hardy and firefighters Joseph Hastings and Theodore "Ted" Baxter. Capt. Scott Baxter remains in fair condition at MMC. Deputy Chief S. Clyde Ross was also at the site of the Farmington Falls Road explosion on Sept. 16; he was treated and released from Franklin Memorial Hospital.

Larry Lord, 60, remains in critical condition at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Lord, an employee of LEAP Inc., has been called a hero by local officials for his actions on the morning of Sept. 16, when he evacuated the administration and training building at 313 Farmington Falls Road after smelling gas in the basement. Minutes after the fire department responded to the report an explosion tore through the building, killing Capt. Michael Bell, 68, and injuring Lord and several firefighters.

In an update posted on Oct. 6 on a gofundme page dedicated to Lord, his family thanked the community for its outpouring of love and support.

"We take great comfort and inspiration from your prayers, positive thoughts and kind words and support. It means the world to us," the message reads. "And we know Larry is strengthened by your kindness."

The family went on to praise the Mass General Hospital medical team, saying that Lord was receiving the best possible care.

Investigators believe that propane leaked out of the buried line that ran from an external tank to the building, permeating the ground beneath the parking lot and then entering the building's basement. That tank was filled with nearly 400 gallons of propane on Sept. 13, but was discovered to be empty by Lord and another LEAP employee on the morning of Sept. 16, prior to the explosion. The cause of the leak and what sparked the explosion remain under investigation.

Information about a number of different benefit events and ways to donate to support those impacted by the explosion can be found here.

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5 Responses »

  1. Welcome Home, Chief Bell! Sending you and the other injured firefighters constant prayers for continuous healing. Each of you has demonstrated such strength and determination to overcome this horrific ordeal. Sorry for your loss of your brother. Again, welcome home!

  2. Welcome home Chief!!!

  3. Welcome home Chief Bell!!! Thank you sir. Hopefully all will be home soon!! Praying for all