FARMINGTON — Attorneys for Farmington firefighters hurt and killed and the injured maintenance worker credited with saving lives during an explosion just over a year ago are suing two Maine companies they blame for the blast.
C.N. Brown Co. of South Paris and Manchester-based Techno Metal Post of Maine are named in the two civil lawsuits brought by McKee Law of Augusta. representing the firefighters, and Berman & Simmons of Lewiston, representing Larry and Sandra Lord.
“I love Larry. Larry was a great guy, is a great guy, nothing but love for Larry. We had a lot of laughs. I miss him dearly, ” said Lisa Charles, a former LEAP employee and neighbor. “And whatever he needs to do, I support him completely.”
State Fire Marshal’s Office investigators determined in January an auger used by a Techno Metal Post employee hit a propane line to the Life Enrichment Advancing People building on Sept. 10 of last year, causing it to leak.
LEAP maintenance man Larry lord found the building’s propane tank empty a couple of days later and had C.N. Brown refill it.
“The dispatched CN Brown technician simply refilled the tank without first performing a routine pressure leak test as required by law. Because of CN Brown’s failure to do the test, the leak went undetected and the building, then filled with propane gas, exploded three days later,” Berman & Simmons said in a statement.
The Sept. 16, 2019 explosion killed Capt. Mike Bell and injured six other firefighters as well as Lord. Bell’s brother, Chief Terry Bell, Deputy Chief Clyde Ross, Capt. Scott Baxter and his father, firefighter Theodore Baxter, Capt. Timothy Hardy, and firefighter Joseph Hastings are listed as plaintiffs.
They are claiming they suffered damages, including pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent impairment and other damages, as well as associated medical bills.
“Lord, who suffered devastating burns over 85 percent of his body and other injuries, requiring hospitalization and critical inpatient rehabilitation for nearly seven months,” the Lords’ law firm said. “He returned home to a hero’s welcome in April but continues to battle for his health.”
After a year, there is little evidence the building ever existed.
“I’m sorry this has to continue when I’m sure he’s just trying to move on in his life,” Charles said.