Workers at ND Paper in Rumford buy hot dogs Friday to raise money to help victims and their families affected by Monday’s explosion at the LEAP building in Farmington. Some paid $100 for two hot dogs. Rumford Falls Times photo by Bruce Farrin

RUMFORD — ND Paper mill employees served hot dogs to workers Friday in a fundraising campaign for victims and families affected by Monday’s explosion at the LEAP building in Farmington.

“We’ve had people paying $100 for two hot dogs,” said Linda Pepin, independent contractor-internal communications for ND Paper. “That’s not happening because they love hot dogs!”

The campaign reached about $7,700 Friday. The goal is $10,000, which ND Paper has pledged to match.

Janet Koski, director of human resources and communications for ND Paper, said, “This is just our way to help.

“We certainly have firefighters who work here,” she said. “It seems like so many people we’ve talked to have connections to the victims, in some manner. It hit very close to home.”

A fire captain was killed in the blast and seven others were injured, including six firefighters and the maintenance supervisor. Three remained in critical condition Friday.

Koski said ND Paper’s corporate office in Illinois was contacted Tuesday and pledged to give $10,000 if employees raised that amount.

“They said they would match it,” Koski said.

Since then, she said, “Employees, contractors, visitors — everyone has really stepped up.”

The Rumford mill collected more than $2,100 in the first 24 hours, including pledges from other ND Paper locations and offices.

Koski said the total was around $7,700 on Friday.

Amy Lee, director of corporate communications for ND Paper, set up a GoFundMe page, after people at a corporate office were asking to help.

“She started that with a goal of $2,000,” Koski said. “People are throwing money into that, too. I’m seeing names on that from Virginia, Van Buren, Old Town.”

Besides the money, employees have collected up to 40 items and a basket raffle that includes a $100 gift card, snowmobile helmet, a massage, a bushel of apples and 35 bales of hay.

“Someone in the community made and donated a hand-sewn quilt,” Koski said.

People are also seeing the fundraising effort on the ND Paper’s Facebook page and are stepping up, she said.

Donations to the Farmington Disaster Relief Fund to help those injured or affected by the explosion may be made at Franklin Savings Bank, 197 Main St., Farmington, or mailed to the bank at PO Box 825, Farmington, ME 04938

Donations to the Farmington Firemen Benevolent Association, specifically for Capt. Michael Bell’s family, may be made at Franklin Savings Bank in Farmington or mailed there.

Donations to the Farmington Disaster Relief Fund and/or the Farmington Firemen Benevolent Association from people in the River Valley may be made at Franklin Savings Bank, 155 Congress St. in Rumford or mailed to the bank at PO Box 579, Rumford, ME 04276-0579.

According to the town of Farmington website, donations may be made at any Franklin Savings Bank branch.

Donors are asked to specify which account they are donating to. Franklin Savings will match up to $10,000 per each account.

Donations for LEAP can be made through the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area at 218 Fairbanks Road, writing a check to United Way of the Tri-Valley Area and labeled LEAP Explosion Fund, or to LEAP at PO Box 126, Farmington, ME 04938.

To help the family of Larry Lord of Jay, the LEAP maintenance worker being treated at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, go to gofundme.com/f/support-for-larry-lord.

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