Mon | Oct 21, 2019

Propane explosion kills firefighter, injures 6 other people

Published:Tuesday | September 17, 2019 | 12:14 AM
Firefighters arrive at the scene of a deadly propane explosion, Monday, September 16. which levelled new construction in Farmington, Maine.
A police officer stands guard, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, at the scene of a deadly propane explosion which leveled new construction in Farmington, Maine. (Donna Perry/Sun Journal via AP)
Emergency vehicles stand by, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, at the scene of a deadly propane explosion which leveled new construction in Farmington, Maine. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal via AP)
Ambulances travel, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, from the scene of a propane explosion which leveled new construction in Farmington, Maine. (Rich Abrahamson/The Central Maine Morning Sentinel via AP)
Emergency vehicles are at the scene of a deadly propane explosion, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, which leveled new construction in Farmington, Maine. (Jacob Gage via AP)
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FARMINGTON, Maine (AP) :

A powerful propane explosion leveled a recently opened nonprofit centre after crews arrived to investigate the smell of gas Monday morning, killing one firefighter and injuring six other people, including fellow firefighters, officials said.

The building had been evacuated after the gas was detected, said Farmington Town Selectman Scott Landry. One firefighter was killed.

The blast injured four other firefighters, including the town’s fire chief; one employee of the nonprofit centre; and one ambulance worker, officials said. Landry had previously said all six of the injured were firefighters.

The blast around 8:30 a.m. was heard for miles and had enough force to blow a vehicle across an intersection. Paper, insulation and building debris rained on the area.

All that was left of the two-storey building housing LEAP Inc., which serves people with cognitive and intellectual disabilities, was a hole, Landry said.

“It’s a war zone. It’s just a mess,” said Landry, who is also a state representative. “The building is gone.”

Kim Hilton, who works in the admissions department at the nearby University of Maine at Farmington, said there were scary moments when the blast occurred.

“It felt like someone hit our building with a vehicle,” she said.