FARMINGTON- Farmington Fire Chief Terry Bell was discharged from the Maine Medical Center on Tuesday and made his way home to Farmington.
“To have the chief come back is something pretty special, it’s something we’ll rally around,” said Stephan Bunker, a member of the Farmington Fire Department and a Farmington selectman.
More than 100 people were outside of the Farmington Fire Station on Tuesday afternoon, waiting to welcome back Chief Terry Bell.
He’s been at Maine Medical Center in Portland for nearly a month following the explosion at the LEAP facility that injured five firefighters and killed his brother, Farmington Fire Captain Michael Bell.
“They mean a lot to the community,” said Tanya Hill, an Industry resident. “With my husband’s step-dad being a member of the fire department as well, we needed to be here for them.”
Since the explosion, other stations have been covering Farmington, giving firefighters time to heal and recover.
“We’ve got a pretty stoic bunch, but we realize we’ve been through a lot,” Bunker said. “I would say for each of us, we’ll be different individually, but stronger for having been through it.”
Bunker said they’re hoping to return to a normal schedule soon.
He added the return of Chief Bell and other injured firefighters is something to celebrate.
“It just renews my faith that there’s a lot of good people out there and it only takes an event like this to bring out the best of them,” Bunker said. “I’m just proud to be a member of this community.”
Right now, two others who were injured in the explosion are still hospitalized.
Captain Scott Baxter is in fair condition at Maine Medical Center.
Larry Lord, the maintenance worker responsible for clearing the building, is in critical condition at Mass General in Boston.
“We’re hoping in the near future to try to get ourselves back to the schedule we’re used to in the past,” Bunker said. “Folks need to know we’re here for them. We’re Farmington Strong.”