Attorneys representing the maintenance supervisor injured in the fatal September 2019 explosion that leveled a Farmington nonprofit say they are gearing up for a civil lawsuit that could involve two companies whose actions may have contributed to the blast.
Lawyers Daniel Kagan and Steven Silin said they are still working to prove “in a detailed way” how the actions of Techno Metal Post and C.N. Brown Energy contributed to the injury of their client, Larry Lord of Jay. Once they do, they expect to bring a suit against the companies they see as being responsible for the explosion.
Lord was seriously injured when the LEAP Inc. building exploded due to a pierced propane gas line, killing Farmington fire Capt. Michael Bell and injuring several others. He returned home in April. State investigators said early this year that the explosion was caused by a massive propane leak after a post installed by Techno Metal Post six days earlier severed the line.
C.N. Brown technician George Barker was fined $1,300 and lost his license for 15 days after he was found to have failed to perform a leak check on the tank before the explosion as required by state law, according to an Maine Fuel Board consent agreement from April.
Under state law, a leak check is required immediately after gas is turned on in a new system or one that has been restored. Instead, Barker filled the tank with 400 gallons of propane on Sept. 13, 2019. The explosion occurred on Sept. 16. Lord was hailed a hero for quickly evacuating workers from the building after he detected the smell of gas.
Techno Metal Post agreed to pay $1,000 in May after it was determined the company did not properly mark an excavation site or notify the Maine Public Utilities Commission of its intent to dig. Both LEAP and Techno Metal Post are facing fines from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, while C.N. Brown is not.
Silin said the potential lawsuit will not focus on the town of Farmington — which faces a potential state fine of $22,000 for not properly training or outfitting its firefighters — or LEAP, which faced a $12,000 fine for safety violations, because those entities did not directly cause the explosion.
Transcripts of interviews from the fire marshal’s investigation are expected to be released this week by Attorney General Aaron Frey’s office, according to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Stephen McCausland.
Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Daniel Kagan’s name.