Farmington Fire Capt. Timothy “TD” Hardy who was seriously injured Monday in an explosion in Farmington, was released from a Portland hospital on Thursday. Town of Farmington photo

FARMINGTON — A second firefighter injured in Monday’s deadly propane explosion was released from a Portland hospital Thursday, another firefighter’s condition was upgraded and other injured firefighters were said to be improving.

Capt. Timothy “TD” Hardy, 40, was released from Maine Medical Center on Thursday afternoon and was escorted home in a procession of emergency vehicles that began in Augusta and traveled north on Route 27 to Farmington Fire Rescue Department.

Hardy’s family said he is ready to begin healing at home, the Portland hospital said in a news release.

Veteran firefighter Capt. Michael Bell, 68, died in the explosion at the LEAP building on Farmington Falls Road Monday morning. No service had been announced for him as of Thursday afternoon. There has been an effort this week to get people to wear red Friday in honor of Bell and in support of other firefighters.

State and federal investigators continued their search of the explosion site to try to determine what caused the blast. Some excavation work was done Thursday.

Deputy Fire Chief Clyde Ross had been released Monday after being treated at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, and firefighter Joseph Hastings, 24, returned home from Maine Med on Wednesday.

Farmington firefighter Theodore “Ted” Baxter who was injured in Monday’s explosion had his condition upgraded to serious Thursday at a Portland hospital. Photo courtesy JP Fortier/FFR

On Thursday, the hospital upgraded firefighter Theodore “Ted” Baxter’s condition from critical to serious. The 64-year-old’s family said he is up and walking, improving daily and visiting with family and friends. He was transferred out of the Intensive Care Unit .

Fire Chief Terry Bell, 62, the brother of Michael Bell, and Capt. Scott Baxter, 37, remained in critical condition at Maine Med. Baxter’s family said he is improving daily, and Bell’s family reported that he was on his feet Thursday, visiting with family and Farmington Fire Rescue Department members.

“The patients and their families said they are overwhelmed by the immense outpouring of support from the community, state and nation. They thanked, in particular, the civilians and first responders who helped in the aftermath of the explosion, and the many fire departments that have provided coverage of Farmington in their time of need, as well as the investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s Office,” Maine Med spokeswoman Caroline Cornish said in a statement.

They expressed their gratitude for the continuous support of the Portland Fire Department, and for the compassionate care provided at Franklin Memorial Hospital and Maine Medical Center, she said.

Larry Lord, the LEAP maintenance supervisor credited with getting the dozen or so employees out of the building just before the explosion just after 8 a.m. Monday, remained in critical condition at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a hospital spokeswoman said. He had gone back into the building with firefighters and was injured in the blast.

“They said they are all thinking of Larry Lord, are grateful for his heroic actions and wish him a full and speedy recovery,” Cornish said in her statement. “They are asking for space and privacy, and will update the community as they are able.”

Lord, a Jay resident, suffered burns over 50 percent of his body and has critical injuries. He is expected to be in the hospital for four months. In addition to his position at LEAP, a nonprofit that works with people with developmental and cognitive disabilities, Lord also serves as animal control officer in Livermore Falls.

Good news surfaced Thursday when a dog that had been missing since Monday was found by her owner who was displaced from her residence following the explosion.

Bath Fire Rescue Chief Chris Cummings holds the leash of a dog, Emmy, whose owner found her Thursday morning. Jaime Green said the dog had been missing since Monday. Green was able to get some of her belongings from her home after being displaced. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Bath Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Chris Cummings held the leash of the dog, Emmy, while his owner, Jaime Green, went with an escort to get her belongings. Bath firefighters had cleaned debris from the dirt driveway leading to the residences behind LEAP to make it safe to get to for people whose homes were destroyed or heavily damaged. They were escorted by Farmington police, Bath firefighters and Franklin County Emergency Management Deputy Director Amanda Simoneau to get some belongings.

Green said she found the dog up the road from the blast site. Cummings said Green had been leaving food out for the dog, but she did not know whether it was the dog that was eating it.

As of Thursday afternoon, American Red Cross disaster responders were working with 27 people to fulfill immediate needs such as food, a safe place to sleep and other essentials. That number may grow, according to a release from the Red Cross.

The Red Cross will remain in contact with them to provide community referrals as they begin their road to recovery.

Sgt. Kenneth Grimes of the Office of the Maine State Fire Marshal, said Tuesday that investigators were hoping to know what happened by Friday. It is a slow, methodical process, he said. At this time, investigators were leaning toward a liquid propane explosion.

News Center Maine’s website identified the gas supplier at the site as CN Brown Co.

“We have no comment at this time,” said a woman who answered the phone at the fuel company’s office in South Paris.

 

State and federal fire investigators continued Thursday to try to determine the origin of the explosion Monday at the LEAP building at 313 Farmington Falls Road in Farmington. Fire Capt. Michael Bell was killed and six other firefighters and a maintenance supervisor at LEAP were injured. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

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