AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Transportation is making license plates to honor Farmington firefighter Capt. Michael Bell who was killed in the line of duty during an apparent gas-related explosion in Farmington on Monday, Sept 16.
"We were honored to make license plates honoring Farmington Fire Rescue firefighter Captain Michael Bell, who was killed in the line of duty last week. Maine State Police - Headquarters asked, and MaineDOT’s sign shop answered," Maine DOT said.
The vehicle plates are commemorative and only available to the Farmington Fire Rescue.
Making license plates to honor Farmington Fire Rescue firefighter Captain Michael Bell
A funeral service for Bell will be private at the family's request, but a public tribute will take place at a later undetermined date.
"Our family is rather private, so it's been challenging for us to navigate our father's passing because he lost his life in such a tragic, public way," Bell's daughters, Michelle Fish, Danielle Flannery and Sara Bell wrote. "He was a very humble man, so in keeping with his wishes, our family plans to mourn him privately. That is what our hearts are guiding us to do."
Seven firefighters and a maintenance worker were also injured in the blast.
LEAP maintenance worker Larry Lord, 60, is in critical condition at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Fire Chief Terry Bell is in fair condition at Maine Medical Center. His brother, Capt. Michael Bell, died in Monday's explosion.
Capt. Scott Baxter's condition was upgraded to serious on Wednesday, Sept. 25. He had previously been in critical condition since the explosion. He is also at Maine Medical Center.
The Maine State Fire Marshal's Office continues to investigate the explosion at the LEAP, Inc., headquarters. Stephen McCausland, the spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Friday that fire investigators completed on-scene work at the site and turned the property over to its owners and their insurance company.
Fire investigators will conduct additional interviews and analysis of items gathered at the scene as they attempt to determine what caused the blast.
Photos: Deadly explosion in Farmington, Maine