1 Dead, 7 Injured In Explosion At Nonprofit

The newly expanded office of Leap, Inc., (Life Enrichment Advancing People) in Farmington, Maine was leveled by a propane explosion yesterday that took the life of a firefighter and put at least seven others in the hospital with serious injuries.

The organization operates group homes and the blast destroyed the administrative offices. A board member told local media that the organization employs approximately 200 people.

Leap is described on its federal Form 990 as a “private non-profit organization devoted to supporting people with developmental and intellectual disabilities to be actively involved in their home communities.” Leap has been in operation since 1982. Total revenue for the year ended June 30, 2018 was $6,853,152, according to the Form 990 filing.

Killed was 68-year-old Captain Michael Bell, a 30-year department veteran. His brother, also a firefighter, was hospitalized with serious injuries, according to the state police. A Leap maintenance worker, identified by police as Larry Lord, was among the injured. Lord was airlifted to a hospital in Boston.

A report of a smell of gas was reported to the fire department shortly after 8 a.m. The explosion occurred at approximately 8:30 a.m., minutes after children waiting in front of the building for their bus safely went to school.