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Firefighter Tribute

State of Maine

In March 2020, the Maine State Legislature unanimously passed a law to include underground propane lines in the Dig Safe law, so they must be marked prior to excavating in their vicinity.

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Danielle Bell Flannery, the daughter of fallen firefighter Captain Michael A. Bell, made a heartfelt plea to Maine State Legislators advocating for the passing of LD 1892, An Act to Make Changes to the So-called Dig Safe Law. The Dig Safe Law in Maine prohibits digging around certain underground utility lines, but sadly propane gas lines were not covered under the existing laws. Below is an excerpt from Danielle’s testimony:

“Supporting LD 1892, An Act to Make Changes to the So-called Dig Safe Law, tells us that you care, that his life counted, and that you aren’t willing to stand for a senseless, preventable death, all in the name of saving propane companies some time and money. So many people have offered their help or asked us what they can do. This is something you can do for my family, the families of all those impacted, and for the next family that will inevitably go through this if this bill does not pass.

This type of legislation has been proposed before. Had it passed then, I wouldn’t need to be standing before you today. My father wouldn’t be missing graduations, weddings and great grandchildren. Those things were taken from him; from us and I urge you, don’t let them be taken from anyone else.” 

The tragic propane explosion in Farmington, Maine that killed Captain Michael Bell and seriously injured his brother Chief Terry Bell along with five other firefighters, eventually resulted in two Maine laws being enacted.

In March 2020, the Maine State Legislature unanimously passed a law to include underground propane lines in the Dig Safe law, so they must be marked prior to excavating in their vicinity. Then in June 2021, they passed a Fuel Gas Detector law which requires at least one approved Fuel Gas Detector to be installed in any room containing an appliance fueled by propane, natural gas or liquified petroleum gas. The law covers many types of dwellings including hotels, multifamily properties, rental homes, shelters, dormitories, but stops short of requiring them in single family residences. By 2026, Business, Mercantile and Assembly occupancies will also have to adhere to this new law.

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