A deadly explosion in Farmington two years ago sparked new law that will require gas detectors in public spaces.
The LEAP building in Farmington exploded in September 2019
A Farmington firefighter was killed in that explosion and several others injured, including several firefighters and an employee who evacuated the building when he noticed something was wrong with the gauges. It turned out that the propane line had been ruptured when crews drilled holes in the ground to install hydrants about a week earlier. Officials say if there had been gas detectors in the building, the leak could have been discovered before it reached such dangerous levels.
Who is required to install gas detectors?
As of January 1, 2022, the State of Maine requires gas detectors in all public spaces that contain a gas-powered appliance, including natural gas heaters. According to the directive from the Office of the State Fire Marshal of the State of Maine, the owner of the building is required to install or have installed at least one approved combustible gas detector in every room containing an appliance powered by propane, natural gas. or any liquefied petroleum gas. This includes the following situations:
- In each unit of apartment buildings.
- A fraternity house, sorority house or dormitory affiliated with a school.
- A children’s home, children’s emergency shelter, children’s residential care center, homeless children’s shelter, or specialized children’s home.
- A hotel, motel or inn.
- Mixed-use occupancy that contains one housing unit.
- Commercial occupation.
- A commercial occupation.
- Any kind of occupation of the assembly.
The required detectors can be battery powered, plugged into a wall outlet, or hardwired. The best scenario would be for all detectors to have a back-up battery in the event of a power failure. Fuel detectors are not the same as carbon monoxide detectors, which are also required by the state.
What is the penalty for non-compliance?
Anyone who does not comply with the new law faces a fine of $ 500. Find more information on Title 25, §2469 online. If you need specific information about the law and how it applies to your business, contact the Maine State Fire Marshal’s office at 207-626-3870.
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