Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

FARMINGTON — Fire Rescue Chief Terry Bell and Capt. Scott Baxter are making progress in their recovery from injuries suffered in a propane gas explosion last month, acting Fire Chief Tim Hardy said Thursday.

Bell, 62, remained in fair condition and Baxter, 37, remained in serious condition at Maine Medical Center on Thursday.

Larry Lord, 61, of Jay, who was working as maintenance supervisor at the LEAP central office building when the explosion occurred Sept. 16, remains in critical condition at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a hospital spokeswoman. He suffered burns over 50 percent of his body and has several critical injuries.

Fire Capt. Michael Bell, 68, died in the explosion. He is the brother of Chief Terry Bell.

Tim Hardy’s son, Capt. Tim “TD” Hardy, 40, Deputy Chief Clyde Ross, 82, Scott Baxter’s father, firefighter Theodore “Ted” Baxter, 64, and firefighter Joseph Hastings, 24, were seriously or critically injured and have been released from hospitals.

About 30 people were displaced when their homes were either destroyed or heavily damaged in the blast at 313 Farmington Falls Road.


The Office of the Maine Fire Marshal said the cause of the explosion was a broken propane line under the parking lot of the building. The 400-gallon tank was filled Sept. 13 but three days later it was empty, with some of the gas seeping into the basement of the building.

The number and extent of injuries to Farmington firefighters prompted numerous fire departments from around the state to man the station. Fairfield and Freeport fire departments were there Thursday morning.

A handwritten message on a small sign in front of  the station reads: “Open For Business! Stop In + Say Hi!”

The situation could have been much worse if Lord had not gotten LEAP employees out of the building moments before it exploded, Hardy said.

“We are just as concerned about him as we are about our firefighters,” he said.

Lord, who is known as an avid hunter, family man, a hard worker and outdoor sportsman, turned 61 on Wednesday.

“He is the type of guy willing to help anyone,” Stephen Gould, Livermore Falls town manager and a friend of Lord’s, said Thursday.

“I have always felt he is a man of honesty, integrity and decency, just a really fair guy,” Gould said.

Lord is the animal control officer in Livermore Falls. While he is recovering, former Animal Control Officer Sue Metzger is helping the town, Gould said.

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