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Farmington community unveils two memorials on second anniversary of Leap Inc explosion

On Thursday morning, two separate memorials were unveiled in honor of the two year anniversary.
On Thursday morning, two separate memorials were unveiled in honor of the two year anniversary.(Owen Kingsley)
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 4:53 PM EDT
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FARMINGTON, Maine (WABI) - Thursday is the two year anniversary of the explosion at the Leap Incorporated building in Farmington that killed Fire Captain Michael Bell and injured seven other firefighters as well as Leap’s maintenance supervisor Larry Lord.

On Thursday morning, two separate memorials were unveiled in honor of the two year anniversary.

Their unveiling ceremony was only open to friends and family.

The first being Captain Bell’s firefighting helmet, bronzed on a granite pedestal.

“It is I think a very fitting tribute to a fine firefighter,” said Christian Waller, Farmington Town Manager.

“I had the honor of receiving Michael’s helmet from the scene when they finally uncovered it from the debris, and I safeguarded that and brought it back to the station. That had been the last time that I had seen that until this unveiling,” said Stephan Bunker, a Farmington Firefighter.

The second memorial is a set of nine bells in Bjorn Park, across the street from the former Leap building.

The project is titled “Tribute to Resilience.”

One bell for each person injured that day.

Both memorials and their ceremonies hoping to spread a message.

“Not only remembrance but a message of hope and healing. I’ve heard many, many stories today. Humorous, sad, everything in between. In some ways, it’s still very fresh,” said Waller.

“The first year anniversary came so quick, and it was still very raw to us. I’m not sure that was the right timing. I think today’s tribute helped us heal,” said Bunker.

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