Fallen firefighter saluted, answers sought in propane blast


An aerial view of the devastation after an explosion at the Life Enrichment Advancing People (LEAP) building, in Farmington, Maine killed one firefighter and injured multiple other people, on Monday morning September 16, 2019. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal via AP)

FARMINGTON, Maine (AP) — Firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement officers have turned out to salute a firefighter killed in a propane blast in Maine.

Scores of people lined the road and gathered outside a funeral home in Farmington as a hearse arrived Tuesday from the state medical examiner’s office with the body of 68-year-old Fire Capt. Michael Bell.

The explosion Monday shattered the two-story building that housed a nonprofit that serves people with cognitive and intellectual disabilities.

Bell’s brother, Fire Chief Terry Bell, five other firefighters, a building maintenance worker, and an ambulance worker were injured. Six remained hospitalized Tuesday, with four in critical condition.

Investigators are working to pinpoint the cause of the explosion. The blast also destroyed homes in a mobile home park. The Red Cross is assisting about 10 displaced people.

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