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Propane Company Technician Fined, Suspended Over Events That Led To Deadly Farmington Explosion

Patty Wight
Maine Public
Shards of debris from the exploded LEAP building litter the ground in Farmington, September 16, 2019.

A technician with CN Brown has been fined, reprimanded, and had his license suspended for his part in a chain of events that led to the deadly September 2019 explosion at the nonprofit LEAP office in Farmington.

The explosion leveled the building and claimed the life of Farmington Fire Captain Michael Bell.


According to the Maine Fuel Board, the technician in question failed to perform a leak test on the propane system, after LEAP employees reported that their tank appeared to be empty. The leak test is a safety measure required by law any time a propane system experiences an interruption in service.


Unbeknownst to LEAP or CN Brown, the gas line had been breached two days prior, during construction, when company Techno Metal Post Maine drilled into nearby pavement without first identifying utility lines.


The subsequent leak continued undetected over a weekend after the CN Brown technician delivered the gas without performing the required pressure test.


The explosion occurred after employees arrived the following Monday morning to find gas in the building, and called the fire department.


Bell, who had responded to the call was killed, and others were seriously injured.