JAY, Maine — A maintenance worker who saved lives by evacuating a building minutes before a deadly explosion returned home Friday to a hero’s welcome after more than six months of hospitalization and rehabilitation.
Larry Lord, who was seriously burned, departed Friday in an ambulance with a police escort from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital outside Boston. Along the way, a Maine State Police honor guard and other police and fire departments joined the caravan.
Signs including a large one outside his home greeted the 61-year-old upon his arrival late Friday afternoon.
Gov. Janet Mills said Mainers should draw on Lord’s courage and determination as the state grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a snowstorm that knocked out power for tens of thousands of people.
“Courage and kindness like his exist and with that courage and kindness we will not just survive but overcome and thrive,” she told reporters in Augusta.
Lord helped almost a dozen people get out of a building on Sept. 16, 2019, in Farmington, after he smelled propane gas.
The building exploded after he returned with firefighters to investigate the source of the propane leak. The explosion killed Farmington fire Capt. Michael Bell and injured several others.
Lord, who suffered extensive burns, spent about five months in Massachusetts General Hospital before being transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown in February.
Lord, exhausted from his trip, planned to take it easy at home with his wife, Sandy. “Although happy to be home, they are, as you can imagine, exhausted,” their attorney said.