Farmington Explosion Was Top Maine Story for 2019
The massive explosion of a building in Farmington, that killed a firefighter and left seven other people injured, topped the list of news stories for 2019, according to the Associated Press.
It was sometime before 8:30, on the morning of September 16th, when Farmington was rocked by a huge blast. Debris from the explosion at the LEAP, Inc. office damaged other buildings and vehicles, in the vicinity of 313 Farmington Falls Road. Pictures of the scene looked like a bomb had gone off, or a tornado had ripped through the area. In reality, it was a propane leak that caused gas to build up under the parking lot and seep into the basement of the building.
One Farmington firefighter, 68-year-old Captain Michael Bell, was killed in the blast. Six other firefighters were taken to local hospitals with various injuries, while maintenance man Larry Lord was flown to Boston. Lord is credited with saving employee's lives by evacuating them before the building exploded. He remains hospitalized in Boston and, at last report, his condition had been downgraded from fair to serious.
Other stories in the top five for 2019 include the arrival of hundreds of African asylum seekers in Portland, the expansion of Medicaid to thousands of Mainers, lawmakers' removal of exemptions for vaccinations, and CMP's hydropower project. The list was compiled by the Associated Press and its member news organizations in the state.