A propane line that had leaked 400 gallons of propane from a tank over the course of a weekend was responsible for the explosion that leveled the LEAP Inc. building in Farmington last week, killing a firefighter and injuring seven others.
The state fire marshal’s office Friday confirmed that the propane leak was responsible for the explosion, following an investigation by state and federal officials who interviewed more than 100 people about the blast.
The propane tank at the LEAP building had been filled Friday, Sept. 13 with 400 gallons of propane but was empty when the building exploded just after 8 a.m. last Monday, Sept. 16. The explosion seriously injured six Farmington firefighters and killed Fire Capt. Michael Bell. A LEAP employee, maintenance supervisor Larry Lord, was also severely injured in the incident.
Investigators located the leak in a propane line buried under LEAP’s paved parking lot, said Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. The line connected an outdoor propane tank at the back of the property to the basement of the building. The leak was “significant,” McCausland said, and its cause — as well as what sparked the explosion — is still unknown.