Fire captain injured in Maine blast welcomed home

Capt. Scott Baxter was released from a rehab facility and escorted home with a procession to the fire station


By Donna M. Perry
Sun Journal

FARMINGTON, Maine — Six weeks after a deadly propane explosion, Fire Rescue Capt. Scott Baxter who was critically injured Sept. 16 will be released from a rehabilitation facility Tuesday morning and will be escorted home with a procession to the Fire Station.

Fire Rescue Capt. Michael Bell, 68, died in the blast at the LEAP Inc. central office building at 313 Farmington Falls road.

Baxter is one of six firefighters and a LEAP maintenance supervisor who were seriously or critically injured.

Baxter, 37, was discharged from Maine Medical Center in Portland on Oct. 13 and moved to a rehabilitation facility.

LEAP supervisor Larry Lord, 61, of Jay remained in serious condition Monday at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, according to a hospital spokesman. He is credited with getting nearly a dozen employees out of the building before reporting a smell of propane in a 911 call. Minutes after firefighters arrived the building was destroyed.

Firefighters and other emergency responders and vehicles will gather at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday on Route 27 at the Rome-New Sharon town line for a procession to the Fire Rescue Department.

The other firefighters who were injured, Chief Terry Bell, 63, Deputy Chief S. Clyde Ross, 82, Capt. Tim “TD” Hardy, 40, Baxter’s father, Theodore “Ted” Baxter, 64, and firefighter Joseph Hastings, 24, were previously released from hospitals. They were greeted with processions and people lining the road along Route 27 as they returned home.

State and federal fire investigators have determined a propane line under the LEAP parking lot was damaged, resulting in fuel leaking into the basement of the building.

The propane tank had been filled with nearly 400 gallons of fuel Sept. 13 by CN Brown of Paris, but was empty when Lord checked it three days later after smelling propane in the basement, according to investigators.

Investigators are still trying to determine how the line was damaged and what triggered the explosion.

Thirty people living in mobile homes behind the LEAP building were displaced when their homes were heavily damaged or destroyed. They have been relocated.

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©2019 the Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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