FARMINGTON, Maine — The LEAP Inc. maintenance supervisor credited with hustling his coworkers out of the nonprofit organization’s building before it blew up last September will come home this week, according to a Wednesday statement from the family.
Larry Lord, a Jay resident, smelled gas early in the morning of Sept. 16 at the Farmington-based nonprofit and got everyone out of the building before calling emergency responders. He then went back into the building and was severely injured when it exploded due to a severed gas line. The blast killed Farmington Fire Capt. Michael Bell and injured several other firefighters.
Those individuals have all been released from medical care, but Lord did not leave Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston until five months after the blast. He was transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown in February. Now, he is expected to come home Friday morning, his wife Sandy said in a statement.
“We are so happy and grateful to be able to bring Larry home to continue his healing,” she said, noting Lord “still faces a long and difficult road” to recovery, but will now be able to recover with his family.
The family has continued to receive support and has been updating Lord’s progress regularly through its fundraising page, which has raised almost $124,000 as of Wednesday.
The news comes almost a month after his employer was fined over $12,000 for safety violations connected to the explosion. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found LEAP and Techno Metal Post of Manchester failed to ensure the bollards surrounding an air conditioning unit were properly installed, which led to a bollard’s auger piercing the propane gas line under LEAP’s parking lot.
An initial report from the state’s Department of Labor found the town of Farmington was also at fault by not following training and equipment standards for its firefighters. A final report from the state is pending.