Maine explosion

FARMINGTON, Maine (AP/CNN/Meredith) — A propane explosion leveled a new building housing a nonprofit after crews arrived to investigate the smell of gas Monday morning, killing one firefighter and injuring at least six others, officials said.

The building had been evacuated after the smell of gas was detected, said Farmington Town Selectman Scott Landry. 

Capt. Michael Bell, 68, brother of the department's chief, was killed, the state fire marshal's office said. He was a 30-year member of the Farmington Fire Department.

Six other people were injured and taken to a hospital, Landry said.

The building housing Leap Inc., which serves people with cognitive and intellectual disabilities, was only a couple of weeks old, Landry said. A hole is all that is left.

"The new building is spread all over creation," Landry said.

The blast around 8:30 a.m. was heard for miles around. Video shows debris raining down on homes and buildings in the neighborhood.

Kim Hilton, who works in the admissions department at the nearby University of Maine at Farmington, said there were scary moment when the blast occurred.

"It felt like someone hit our building with a vehicle," she said.

Farmington is about 70 miles north of Portland.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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