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Maintenance Tech Saves Lives in Maine Building Explosion


By Dan Hounsell Emergency Preparedness
Maine building explosion
Photo credit: Jacob Gage/AP

The life of maintenance technicians can be pretty predictable. Hot-and-cold calls, roof leaks, and an array of faulty equipment tend to make up the bulk of any given workday. Now one technician in a Maine commercial office building can answer “saving lives” to the question, “What did you do at work today?”

A recent explosion killed one firefighter and injured six other people at an office building for an organization that serves people with disabilities in Farmington, Me., about 70 miles west of Bangor, according to The New York Times.

The building housed staff members for the organization, Life Enrichment Advancing People, says the official, Scott Landry, a selectman in Farmington. No clients were in the building, which had recently finished being constructed, he said.

The group’s maintenance man, Larry Lord, had smelled propane in the basement, evacuated the building and called the fire department, Landry says, adding that at full capacity, the building would have had about 20 people inside, Mr. Landry said.

“Larry really saved a lot of lives,” Landry says. “If he hadn’t taken care of things in the basement, this could have been a lot worse.”

The explosion, which demolished the building, happened while Lord and firefighters were in the basement, says Landry, who serves on the board of the organization, which has about 200 employees.

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

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