FARMINGTON, Maine (WBZ NewsRadio) — An explosion at a building in Farmington, Maine on Monday left one firefighter dead injured six other people.
Authorities said the explosion, which happened around 8 a.m., was caused by a propane leak.
First responders were called to the scene when employees smelled gas. The building—which was the center office for LEAP, a non-profit that serves adults with disabilities—was then evacuated.
The deceased was identified as Fire Captain Michael Bell, 68, a 30-year veteran of the department.
He is the brother of Fire Chief Terry Bell, 62, who was also injured during the incident.
Also injured were Captain Timothy Hardy, 40; Captain Scott Baxter, 37, and his father, Firefighter Theodore Baxter, 64; Firefighter Joseph Hastings, 24; and Deputy Fire Chief Clyde Ross, who was treated and released.
U.S. and state flags were lowered to half-mast across the state in honor of Bell.
"Farmington is a strong, close-knit and resilient community, of which I am proud to be a part. This loss is devastating and felt by all of Maine," Gov. Janet Mills said in a statement. "My heart goes out to the loved ones of the firefighter lost and those injured. On this tragic day, I ask the people of Maine to join with me in offering our thoughts and prayers to the people of Franklin County and our deepest gratitude to our first responders."
Residents, firefighters, and first responders lined the streets in salute of Captain Bell as his body was taken to the medical examiner's office.