A bill that would add liquefied propane to Maine’s Dig Safe law in response to last year’s Farmington explosion moved forward in the Legislature on Thursday. The yellow underground propane line between a tank and the LEAP building in Farmington was severed when bollards, or safety columns, were installed in the parking lot near the building, officials said.

AUGUSTA —  A legislative committee Thursday gave its support to a bill that would include liquefied propane gas in Maine’s Dig Safe law, according to a news release.

Every member of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee present voted in favor of the measure submitted by state Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, who serves as the House chairperson of the committee. He submitted the bill in response to the deadly explosion in Farmington on Sept. 16, 2019, at LEAP Inc.’s building.

Two Franklin County legislators, Rep. Scott Landry, D-Farmington, and Sen. Russell Black, R-Wilton, co-sponsored the bill.

During a work session, an emergency preamble was added to the bill that will allow the legislation to go into effect immediately, if signed into law, according to the release.

The full Legislature will vote on the bill later in the session.

The explosion killed a Farmington firefighter, injured six others and critically injured LEAP Inc.’s maintenance supervisor who was in the building.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal released its findings Jan. 24, revealing the explosion ignited days after an underground propane line was severed when one of four bollards was being drilled into the ground near the building,  according to a release.

Investigators concluded the propane leaked from the severed line and led to the explosion that leveled the building and damaged surrounding homes. The source of ignition that sparked the explosion could not be determined.

Dig Safe laws prohibit digging around certain underground utility lines. In Maine, liquefied propane lines are not on the prohibited list, according to the release.

Previous bills to bring liquefied propane lines under Dig Safe failed in the Legislature. Those versions of the bill exempted smaller liquefied propane tanks, including the size of the tank in Farmington.


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