A deadly explosion in Farmington two years ago has prompted a new law that will require gas detectors in public spaces.

The L.E.A.P. Building in Farmington Exploded in September of 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 amiss with the gauges. As it turned out, the propane line had been ruptured when crews were drilling holes in the ground to install bollards about a week earlier. Officials say, if there had been gas detectors in the building, the leak may have been discovered before it got to such dangerous levels.

Who is Required to Install Gas Detectors?

So, starting on January 1st, 2022, the state of Maine is requiring gas detectors in all public spaces that contain an appliance that uses gas, including natural gas heaters. According to the directive from the Maine State Fire Marshal's Office, the building owner is required to install, or have installed, at least one approved fuel gas detector in every room containing an appliance fueled by propane, natural gas, or any liquified 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, emergency children's shelter, children's residential care facility, shelter for homeless children, or specialized children's home.
  • A hotel, motel, or inn.
  • A mixed use occupancy that contains a dwelling unit.
  • A business occupancy.
  • A mercantile occupancy.
  • Any sort of assembly occupancy.

The required detectors can be battery-operated, plugged into a wall outlet, or hardwired. The best-case scenario would be for any detectors to have battery backup, in case of an electrical outage. Fuel detectors are not the same thing as carbon monoxide detectors, which are also required by the state.

What's the Penalty for Non-Compliance?

Anyone failing to comply with the new law faces a fine of $500. Find more information about 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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