FARMINGTON, Maine — One year ago at 8:18 a.m., the Farmington community was forever changed. A tragic explosion at the LEAP Incorporated building taking the life of Farmington Fire Captain Michael Bell, and injuring five other firefighters, and Larry Lord, a maintenance worker at LEAP who's been called a hero for evacuating the facility after smelling gas.
On the one year anniversary of those tragic events, multiple memorials are set to take place, some private and others open to the public to pay their respects.
At 8 a.m. on Wednesday the fire department and family of Captain Bell held a private ceremony at the fire station. Then, there was a procession from the fire station to Fairview Cemetery, where there another private ceremony honoring Captain Bell was held.
Following the cemetery, there was a memorial display at 313 Farmington Falls Road, the site of the former LEAP Inc. building. A ladder truck and American flag, a memorial wreath, Captain Bell’s fire gear, and “thank you” banners are part of the display.
There was also a press conference planned for 11 a.m. featuring Governor Janet Mills, Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis, LEAP representative Darryl Wood, and Farmington Assistant Fire Chief Tim Hardy. The press conference was held across the street from the former LEAP Inc. site.
Governor Mills has also ordered flags to be lowered to half staff to honor the victims of the explosion.
"Today, as we honor Captain Bell, the Farmington Fire Department, everyday heroes like Larry Lord, and all of our first responders who put their lives on the line to keep us safe, let us recommit to taking care of one another in times of hardship as we did then, rising a stronger people and a stronger state," Mills said.