Propane technician disciplined in connection with fatal Farmington explosion

A propane technician for CN Brown has been disciplined by the state in connection with last year’s deadly explosion in Farmington.Farmington Fire Captain Michael Bell was killed and seven others were injured when the LEAP, Inc., building exploded last September.The State of Maine Fuel Board found the technician, George Barker, who has been licensed for more than 20 years to work with propane, failed to complete a required leak check when filling the propane tank at the LEAP building three days before the explosion.Barker originally told investigators he didn’t need to do the leak check because the tank wasn’t empty, according to a consent agreement with the Maine Fuel BoardHe was ordered to pay a $1,300 civil penalty, and his license was suspended for 15 days.”I know that Mr. Barker felt terrible about what happened. He was a former firefighter. He’s from that area. He knows some of the other firefighters. I can only imagine what he has on his mind,” attorney Steven Silin.Silin represents LEAP maintenance manage Larry Lord who was critically injured in the blast. Lord suffered severe burns to more than 85% of his body.Silin said he is preparing a civil suit on behalf of his client. He did not provide an exact timeline on when the lawsuit might be filed.Silin provided an update on Lord’s condition.”He is confined to his house. He’s dependent upon his wife’s care, home nursing care, therapy that comes to his house. He’s got other complications related to his injuries, one of which just necessitates going back into the hospital for another surgery,” Silin said.Silin said Lord’s medical bills have already exceeded $7 million.Investigators said earlier this year that the explosion was caused when an underground propane line was severed during the installation of one of four bollards, or safety poles, drilled into the ground near the building.The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the company that did the bollard work, Techno Metal Post, $4,000.

A propane technician for CN Brown has been disciplined by the state in connection with last year’s deadly explosion in Farmington.

Farmington Fire Captain Michael Bell was killed and seven others were injured when the LEAP, Inc., building exploded last September.

Advertisement

The State of Maine Fuel Board found the technician, George Barker, who has been licensed for more than 20 years to work with propane, failed to complete a required leak check when filling the propane tank at the LEAP building three days before the explosion.

Barker originally told investigators he didn’t need to do the leak check because the tank wasn’t empty, according to a consent agreement with the Maine Fuel Board

He was ordered to pay a $1,300 civil penalty, and his license was suspended for 15 days.

“I know that Mr. Barker felt terrible about what happened. He was a former firefighter. He’s from that area. He knows some of the other firefighters. I can only imagine what he has on his mind,” attorney Steven Silin.

Silin represents LEAP maintenance manage Larry Lord who was critically injured in the blast. Lord suffered severe burns to more than 85% of his body.

Silin said he is preparing a civil suit on behalf of his client. He did not provide an exact timeline on when the lawsuit might be filed.

Silin provided an update on Lord’s condition.

“He is confined to his house. He’s dependent upon his wife’s care, home nursing care, therapy that comes to his house. He’s got other complications related to his injuries, one of which just necessitates going back into the hospital for another surgery,” Silin said.

Silin said Lord’s medical bills have already exceeded $7 million.

Investigators said earlier this year that the explosion was caused when an underground propane line was severed during the installation of one of four bollards, or safety poles, drilled into the ground near the building.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the company that did the bollard work, Techno Metal Post, $4,000.