AUGUSTA – The daughter of a Farmington fire captain killed during a gas explosion in September wants lawmakers to prevent it from happening again.
“The leak that led to the explosion that killed my father was preventable and never should have happened,” Danielle Bell Flannery, daughter of Capt. Michael Bell, told a legislative committee on Tuesday.
She is one of three surviving daughters of Bell, who died on Sept. 16 after responding to a gas leak. She stood before state legislature’s Joint Standing Committee of Energy, Utilities and Technology, testifying in favor of adding gas lines to DigSafe — a registry that tracks where buried utility lines are located.
Bell Flannery and others also said the installation of a safety barrier around an outside heating unit at a non-profit agency called LEAP apparently ruptured an underground gas line.
“It was caused when a bollard was augured into place, slicing open the underground propane line at the Leap facility,” she told the committee.
Fire investigators estimate 400 gallons of propane leaked out before the deadly explosion that took her father’s life.
“The drilling is probably what happened to damage the line,” said State Rep. Scott Landry, (D)-Farmington, who also sits on the Leap board and is a town selectman.
He added, “The [State] Fire Marshal’s, I’m pretty sure you’re going to hear a report from the fire marshal’s in the next few days describing what they think is the final determination of the cause.”
The explosion that killed Captain Bell also injured seven others.
Larry Lord, a maintenance man for the agency who got everyone out of the building, remains in the hospital.
“I stand here before you without a dad. Without my superman. And I’m here in support of LD 1892, an Act to make changes to the so-called DigSafe law.”
She added later in her testimony that the law change would, “bring about positive change that will protect countless others going forward.”