FARMINGTON — Throughout the day Wednesday, a parade of cars and trucks drove past a memorial at the LEAP building site, where the Sept. 16, 2019 gas explosion killed Farmington fire Capt. Michael Bell.
Neither first responders nor townspeople had to go through this alone.
“The outpouring of support is overwhelming. And you know, today, we’re still asked every day by people, the caring people, the compassionate people out there, ‘How things are going? How the department is doing? How the members are doing?'” said Deputy Fire Chief Tim Hardy of the Farmington Fire Department.
When the dust and debris settled, six firefighters were injured. And Larry Lord, a LEAP employee who sounded the alarm and was credited with saving lives, was severely injured.
“In the year that has followed, the messaging and support toward LEAP has been universally positive,” said LEAP Program Administrator Darryl Wood.
A year later the injured firefighters are back at work, while Lord is still recovering from his injuries.
The explosion rocked the Franklin County community of nearly 8,000 people, but many say it made the town stronger.
“I’m still amazed at how the community has pulled together and continued to support our department and all the folks who were affected by this disaster,” said Town Manager Richard Davis.
Investigators with the state fire marshal’s office said the explosion was caused by an underground gas leak.
On Wednesday, firefighting gear belonging to the late Capt. Michael Bell was placed by the side of the road, next to the fire department’s ladder truck, which flew a large American flag.