Franklin Countys First News

OSHA closes explosion-related inspections with no further violations

State Fire Marshal's Office and ATF investigators dig through the scene of the Sept. 16 explosion.

FARMINGTON - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration closed inspections of two companies last week, issuing no violations or fines in relation to the Sept. 16, 2019 explosion on the Farmington Falls Road.

OSHA had opened inspections into four entities following the explosion: Life Enrichment Advancing People, Inc. - the organization that both owned the building and was utilizing it for office space - as well as Techno Metal Post Maine LLC, CN Brown and Cornerstone Plumbing and Heating. All three companies worked at the site, according to OSHA.

According to the State Fire Marshal's Office, bollards were installed by Techno Metal Post Maine to protect an air conditioning unit a few days prior to the explosion, with one of those bollards' auger heads severing a buried propane line. Investigators believe that propane then entered the building's basement. The building exploded on the morning of Sept. 16, injuring several firefighters and one LEAP employee. A member of Farmington Fire Rescue, Capt. Michael Bell, 68, was killed in the explosion.

Inspections against CN Brown and Cornerstone Plumbing and Heating were closed without any citation of violation from OSHA.

Previously, OSHA fined LEAP and Techno Metal Post Maine under the "general safety and health provisions," namely 1926.20(b)(2) which states: Such programs shall provide for frequent and regular inspections of the job sites, materials, and equipment to be made by competent persons designated by the employers. The violations were classified as "serious," generating fines of $12,145 and $4,048 for LEAP and Techno Metal Post Maine, respectively.

LEAP and Techno Metal Post Maine have until April 17 to either pay or contest the fines.

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