FARMINGTON – An attorney representing the estate of Capt. Michael Bell and six Farmington Fire Rescue firefighters filed a complaint against CN Brown and Techno Metal Post ME in the Franklin County court system Tuesday.
The lawsuit was filed by attorney Walter McKee of McKee Law on behalf of Bell’s estate, represented by his wife, Diana Bell; Fire Chief Terry Bell; Capt. Scott Baxter; firefighter Theodore Baxter; Capt. Timothy Hardy; firefighter Joseph Hastings; and Deputy Chief S. Clyde Ross. The allegations are similar to the suit filed by Berman & Simmons on behalf of Larry Lord and his family: that both companies’ “direct and vicarious negligence” caused the plaintiffs’ injuries.
“Plaintiffs were harmed by the blast and suffered extraordinarily severe and permanently disabling injuries,” the suit reads. “Plaintiff Michael Bell also died as a result of the explosion.”
The plaintiffs have also asked that the court to consolidate the lawsuits filed on behalf of the firefighters and Lord, arguing that the consolidation would avoid unnecessary costs and/or delays. According to McKee’s motion, Lord’s attorneys do not object to the consolidation.
FARMINGTON – Attorneys representing a Jay man who was critically injured in an explosion last year and his family have filed a complaint against the CN Brown Company and Techno Metal Post ME, LLC.
The lawsuit relates to the Sept. 16, 2019 explosion at the LEAP Inc. office building previously located at 313 Farmington Falls Road. Larry Lord, the maintenance supervisor for LEAP, was inside the building with a Farmington Fire Rescue crew investigating a report of a gas leak when the explosion occurred. Six firefighters were injured and Capt. Michael Bell was killed in the blast.
Lord, who evacuated the building of his fellow employees prior to the explosion, suffered burns over 85 percent of his body, according to a previous statement by attorney Steven Silin, spent seven months in the hospital and continues to require medical care for his injuries.
According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, the underground line leading from the propane tank to the building was severed by the auger head of a bollard – a post used to direct traffic – on Sept. 10, 2019, six days prior to the explosion. Investigators previously indicated that bollard, one of four installed by Techno Metal Post ME of Manchester to protect an external air conditioning unit, was drilled into the paved parking lot and severed the line.
The suit filed by lawyers of the firm Berman & Simmons alleges negligence on the part of Techno Metal Post, specifically that the company failed to take “reasonable and readily available measures to determine the presence and location of the buried gas line”; failed to notify Dig-Safe of its intent to excavate in proximity to the line; and drilled the bollard through the buried line “severing the line and causing a leak that CN Brown failed to discover.”
A separate count of the suit also alleges negligence on the part of CN Brown, claiming that the company failed to “communicate properly the out-of-gas/out-of-hot water interruption of service to its employee dispatched to the LEAP premise;” failed to perform a leak test on the tank; and failed to determine the cause of the interruption of service. This was in violation of safety codes and national safety methods, the suit indicates.
That count relates to the technician dispatched to the LEAP Inc. building on Sept. 13, 2019, the day after LEAP employees discovered that the building had no access to hot water. Lord and another employee learned about the interruption the next morning and checked the building’s propane tank, with Lord then calling CN Brown. The technician later signed a consent agreement indicating that he had filled the tank without performing a leak check, as required by law.
The first two counts of the complaint allege negligence on the part of CN Brown and Techno Metal Post, respectively, which led Lord to “suffer severe, painful and permanent physical and emotional injuries and loss of enjoyment of life, loss of earnings and earning capacity, and to incur and to continue incurring medical expenses in an effort to treat his grievous injuries.” A third count in the complaint deals with the explosion’s impact on Larry Lord’s wife, Sandra Lord, who “suffered the loss of comfort, society, companionship and consortium of her husband and loss of his household services.”
In a statement released on behalf of Berman & Simmons, attorney Silin said that Lord “continues to battle for his health.”
“Larry Lord and his devoted wife Sandy continue to fight daily against the horrible effects of the injuries he received in this explosion,” said Silin. “Their greatest wish is that, someday, Larry will be able to return to a fulfilling, healthy life. We brought this lawsuit to help make that possible for him and his family.”
The statement indicated that the attorney representing the estate of Capt. Bell and the firefighters injured in the Sept. 16, 2019 explosion will also file a suit against CN Brown and Techno Metal Post.
[This story will be updated as more information becomes available.]