The Maine Department of Environmental Protection announced Wednesday that a series of ongoing air quality tests have shown that the air in Farmington is safe to breathe in the wake of a propane explosion that killed one firefighter and left seven other people injured.

“The recent air quality samples obtained by the Department have confirmed that the air in the immediate aftermath of the explosion is safe however DEP is committed to continue monitoring into the near future,” the Maine DEP said in a news release Wednesday.

The state performed air quality monitoring for two types of air pollutants – volatile organic compounds and particulate matter – in the immediate vicinity of the explosion site at the Life Enrichment Advancing People building at 313 Farmington Falls Road, the DEP said.

The explosion, which was apparently caused by a propane gas leak, took place Monday morning, Sept. 16. The blast leveled the LEAP complex and destroyed 11 homes in an adjacent mobile home park. LEAP provides services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Capt. Michael Bell, 68, of the Farmington Fire Department was killed in the explosion.

Air quality samples taken Sept. 17 were in the range of what DEP considers to be typical “background air quality” concentrations for VOCS, meaning there were no elevated or unusually high concentrations measured at the blast site.

Additional air quality samples, which were taken from Sept. 20-22, also revealed that the range falls within typical background air quality concentrations.


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