Many businesses are scrambling to install gas detectors ahead of Jan. 1, when a state law goes into effect in response to a 2019 propane blast in Farmington.

Detectors must be installed in any room where there’s a gas- or propane-fueled appliance for many businesses, hotels, motels, nonprofit organizations, shelters and rental properties.

“It will undoubtedly help protect people with any gas leakage in the buildings. But it’s going to take a while to bring everybody into compliance,” said Jason Grant, of the Portland Fire Department, told WGME-TV.

Lawmakers acted after a deadly propane blast in Farmington. The explosion on Sept. 16, 2019, killed a firefighter and injured others.

The gas detectors are different from fire and smoke detectors.

The problem, said Brit Vitalius with the Southern Maine Landlord Association, is that many landlords are just learning of the requirement.

“We want our buildings to be safe,” Vitalius said. “But we’re not thrilled with the way that this was just passed at the state level with no education, no outreach, nothing else attached to it to make sure that it’s actually successful.”

Local hardware stores say they’re already seeing an increase in purchases.

“We’re definitely getting a lot more calls and inquiries on it,” Tim Currier with Maine Hardware said. “People are just still trying to figure out where they need to have them.”


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