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Democratic debate: Live updates, livestream
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Democratic debate: Live updates, livestream

September Democratic debate highlights

Democratic debate: Live updates, livestream

A nearly three-hour Democratic presidential debate Thursday saw the party's top candidates and those with lesser polling numbers clash over health care, gun control, education and foreign policy.

A call to collect all the assault weapons in the country and a series of testy exchanges were highlights of an evening that saw front-runner Joe Biden defending not only his record as a U.S. senator and vice president but also his ability to recall facts.

Biden was the target of several candidates, but none of the attacks were as personal as the one delivered by former Obama administration colleague Julian Castro who seemed to suggest that Biden could not remember simple facts he had just delivered.

Another highlight of the evening came when former U.S. House Rep. Beto O'Rourke was asked if he would ban assault weapons in the U.S. if he were to be elected president.

"Hell yes," was his answer.

Below are live updates from Thursday's debate

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Democratic debate: What time, what channel, who’s in, live updates

Who was onstage:

Sen. Cory Booker, of New Jersey
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana
Julián Castro, the former housing secretary
Sen. Kamala Harris, of California
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota
Former Rep, Beto O’Rourke, of Texas
Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts
Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur

Live updates

Good evening, and welcome to live updates from the third Democratic presidential debate.

Let’s get started.

Who were the protesters?

11 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: The protesters taken from the room earlier were wearing these shirts:

Sanders on resilience

The last question

10:42 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: All the candidates are asked the same last question about the quality of resilience and how it was manifested in the professional failures they have suffered in life. Here are their answers.

Biden: After being interrupted by protesters, Biden talks about losing his son and how he dealt with it and how it changed his life.

Warren: She talks about being denied a job as a teacher because she became pregnant. So, she became a lawyer. She says she wants to be in the fight for a better America.

Sanders: He is the son of an immigrant. He talks about his several unsuccessful campaigns for public office until he became mayor of Burlington, Vermont. He says he took on big business and special interests and that makes him qualified to lead.

Harris: She says she has always been told “it can’t be done.” But, she says, she didn’t listen to naysayers and she persevered.

Buttigieg: He is talking about coming out as gay. He learned, he said, that trust can be reciprocated. You have to know what is the most important thing in your life, he said.

Yang: If you want to start a company, tell everyone you know you are going to do it, Yang said. His first business failed, he said, but that experience is invaluable.

Booker: He is talking about the election he lost. He learned not to give up, he said, and he reformed his city then won during the next election. “There’s nothing we can’t do as a nation together.”

O’Rourke: He is speaking about the shooting in El Paso, saying “we were not defeated by that, nor were we defined by that.” He a girls’ soccer coach who was injured in the shooting defines resilience for him.

Klobuchar: She talks about her father, an alcoholic, and how his struggle shaped her. She also talked about being sent home from the hospital 24 hours after giving birth, even though her daughter was born with health problems. She said that experience pushed her to public service.

Castro: He grew up in a single-parent household, he says. He talks about his work as a lawyer early in his career and how he gave up a lucrative career because of a conflict of interest.

Protestors are yelling

10:25 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: Some protestors are yelling from the audience. They are being escorted from the room.

Buttigieg on the secretary of Education

On to education

10:15 p.m. Sept. 12, 2019: Everyone says teachers need to be paid more. Warren, who is the only former teacher on the stage, says local school funding needs to stay in local schools. Buttigieg said teachers need better pay so schools can get the best possible candidates. Harris talked about the need for black children to see black teachers while they are young. Booker says underfunded schools are only part of the problems. He says environmental problems, like lead poisoning, are just as big a problem.

O'Rourke's campaign is tweeting

Sanders: I didn’t believe Bush, Cheney

9:50 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: Sanders asks Biden why he voted in favor of authorizing the 2003 invasion of Iraq, then said the difference between him and Biden is that he “never believed” George W. Bush or Dick Cheney.

Yang asks a question online

Afghanistan troop withdrawal

9:45 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: Would Warren withdraw troops from Afghanistan? Yes.

Buttigieg, a veteran of Afghanistan, says Trump has used the troops as “props.”

Booker on the 'threat' from Canada

Trump’s tariffs

9:35 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: The debate is now moving to Trump's tariffs. More than one candidate has said that Trump “doesn’t have a clue” how to deal with China. Booker says Trump’s America first policy is an “America alone” policy.

Who has the most airtime?

To end the filibuster or not:

9:20 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: Warren wants an end of the Senate filibuster to enact gun-control legislation, meaning it would take only 50 Senate votes to pass such a bill. Sanders said he would not be in favor of ending the filibuster.

Castro keeps up the attack

9:15 p.m.ET Sept. 12, 2019: After Biden's answer on immigration, Castro asks the former vice president why he takes credit for the successes of the Obama administration but does not accept any blame for the things that did not work as well.

Biden on immigration

9:10 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: Jorge Ramos asks Joe Biden about the high number of deportations under the Obama administration. “Are you prepared to say tonight that you and President Obama made a mistake on deportations?” Biden at first said Obama is nothing like Trump, but after being pressed Biden says, “The president did the best thing that was able to be done.” Ramos pushed, saying, “What about you?” Biden replied, “I’m the vice president of the United States.”

‘Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15’

9:05 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: O'Rourke receives the loudest cheers of the night so far when he said he supports taking assault weapons away from Americans.

"Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow them to be used against Americans anymore," O'Rourke said.

Gun control 

9 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: Biden says he has the longest record on gun control. “I’m the only up here who’s ever beat the NRA,” he said. He noted O’Rourke’s efforts after the shooting at Walmart in El Paso in August. Harris applauded O’Rourke, as well. She says that while Trump may not have pulled the trigger but has been “tweeting out the ammunition.”

Harris asked about her history on criminal justice

8:50 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: Harris was asked why she didn’t do more to change the criminal justice system when she was San Francisco’s district attorney and California’s attorney general – a question that has dogged her campaign. Harris said she tried to affect change from the inside as a prosecutor. The audience didn’t seem to support her answer.

Buttigieg plays peacemaker. Sort of.

8:46 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: After the exchange between Biden and Castro, Buttigieg says such nasty exchanges are the reason people don’t participate in politics. Castro answers, “That’s called an election.” Klobuchar says a “House divided cannot stand.”

Sharp exchanges

8:42 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: Biden and Sanders go back and forth again. When Sanders references the case of a cancer patient, Biden says he knows “a lot about cancer.” His son Beau died of brain cancer.

Castro attacks Biden asking, “Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” He repeats the phrase several times, with some in the crowd booing and some gasping. Biden says he did not misspeak. Castro repeated the phrase.

Health care continues

8:32 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: Klobuchar is asked which politician has the most radical health care plan and she refuses to answer. She says that while “Bernie wrote the bill, she read it.” Harris says she credits Obama for “getting us this far” when it comes to health care. She says she has a modified Medicare for all plan.

Buttigieg said Medicare-for-all doesn’t take options such as private insurance away. He says he trusts the American people.

The first question is health care

8:22 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: The first question is about health care. It goes to Biden. Biden said Warren is “for Bernie,” and he is “for Barack” when it comes to health care plans. Warren answers that her health care plan would allow middle-class families to pay less, thanks to more being paid by big corporations and wealthy Americans. Sanders said he wrote “the damn bill” reiterates his support for Medicare-for-all. After an exchange with Biden about the cost of the plan, he says that America can’t afford the “status quo” which he estimates would be $50 billion over 10 years.

Opening statements are beginning

8:06 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019Castro says there will be life after Trump and universal health care.

Klobuchar: "Houston, we have a problem." She says Trump is a liar, she is not. “I’ve got a better way.” She says she is the middle between the extremes.

O’Rourke: He is talking about the shootings in El Paso. He is blaming Trump and his policies – “inspired to kill by our president.”

Booker: He tells a story about living in a tough neighborhood and a neighbor who spurred him to find the problems and fix them.

Yang: He tells the audience he plans to give 10 families $1,000 a month for a year. Goes to his website, he says.

Buttigieg: He recalls the spirit of the country in the days after 9/11 and says he will work to bring that spirit back.

Harris: She attacks Trump and says he was not indicted only because there is a “piece of paper at the Justice Department” that keeps a sitting president from being indicted.

Sanders: He says he will take on the American “oligarchs” and implement universal health care.

Warren: She recalls her time in Texas and says her brothers were stationed in Texas and it was a pathway to their being able to move into the middle class.

Biden: He recalls JFK’s moonshot speech. He says he refuses to postpone finding a cure for cancer, working on climate change and giving young kids a good education.

It's starting

8 p.m. ET Sept. 12, 2019: The candidates are on the stage, and the debate is starting.

Biden says he’s not targeting Warren

7:45 p.m. Sept. 12, 2019: Biden has denied he will have the knives out for Warren during Thursday’s debate. “I’m just going to be me, and she’ll be her, and let people make their judgments. I have great respect for her."

We will see soon as the debate begins in 15 minutes.

Warren’s Social Security plan

7:35 p.m. Sept. 12, 2019: Warren introduced a plan Thursday that would increase Social Security benefits by $200 a month and extend the program’s solvency by 20 years. She says she will do that by requiring the top two percent of earners in the U.S. to increase their contributions.

Trump represented

Harris announces plan to end mass incarceration

7:15 p.m. Sept. 12, 2019: Kamala Harris tweeted Thursday, “As president, I will end mass incarceration and build a system that treats people humanely and creates public safety by ending fines and fees that criminalize the poor; ending money bail; ending solitary confinement; ending the death penalty.

Trump may miss it

6:59 p.m. Sept. 12, 2019: President Trump said he will miss the debate tonight but will ask someone to “record it” for him. He is visiting Baltimore tonight for a rally.

Who is asking the questions?

6:50 p.m. Sept. 12, 2019: George Stephanopoulos, "World News Tonight" Anchor David Muir, ABC News Correspondent Linsey Davis and Univision Anchor Jorge Ramos will moderate the debate. The debate is set for three hours, from 8 p.m.-11 p.m. ET.

What’s Yang gonna do?

6:40 p.m. Sept. 12, 2019: Sam Stein of The Daily Beast tweeted Thursday that Andrew Yang’s campaign manager called to tell him that during Thursday’s debate, Yang will do “something no presidential candidate has ever done before in history.” Yang tweeted a teaser, as well.

The rules for the night

6:30 p.m. Sept. 12, 2019: ABC, the network hosting the debate, has announced tonight’s debate rules. The candidates will have one minute and 15 seconds for direct responses to questions asked by the moderators. They will get 45 seconds for rebuttals.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Ahead of the holiday season, UPS has announced it plans to hire more than 1,200 people in the Jacksonville-area. We're told the positions are a combination of seasonal and permanent jobs and include the following:  670 package handlers  235 delivery and tractor-trailer drivers  325 driver helpers UPS says oftentimes these seasonal roles can led to a career with the company, with about 35% of people hired for seasonal package handler jobs in the past four years staying on with the company after the holidays.  Nationwide, UPS is looking to hire 100,000 seasonal jobs to help with the busy holiday shipping season. “We expect another record peak season this year, with daily package deliveries nearly doubling compared to our average of 20 million per day. In order to make that happen, once again we’re recruiting more than 100,000 people for some of the country’s best seasonal jobs,” says Jim Barber, COO, in a statement. Locally, UPS is hiring at the following two locations: 4420 Imeson Road, Jacksonville, FL 32220 12400 Presidents Court, Jacksonville FL, 32219 Tractor-trailer and package car driver jobs start at $21.00 per hour, while pay for package handlers and driver helpers starts at $14.00 per hour. If you’re interested in applying, UPS says you have to apply online at UPSjobs.com.
  • Get ready for higher local gas prices over the next few weeks after an attack on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend. Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy says the good news is it won’t be a quick spike in prices. He says you can expect the prices to go up gradually until they get 15 to 30 cents a gallon higher than they are now. “This is going to feel very much like what we see every spring with gas prices start to go higher every spring and it could last a few weeks,” DeHaan says. He says it won’t be any worse than some higher prices we’ve seen in the past due to hurricanes or other natural disasters. DaHaan says it’s also not a good idea to run to the pump to fill up your tank as soon as you can, because if everyone does that it could cause a bigger issue.
  • Following an article posted by The New York Times this weekend, several Democratic presidential candidates are calling for the impeachment of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on allegations of sexual misconduct from his time as a student at Yale University. On Sunday, the Times reported that Kavanaugh faced a separate allegation of sexual assault from his undergraduate days and that the FBI did not investigate the claim. However, the story has come under some scrutiny. The Times tweeted a promotion for the story, which they later deleted and apologized for, then added an editor's note to the online story explaining that the female student mentioned in the new claim declined to be interviewed about the allegations and that friends say she does not recall the incident. The Times' article was an excerpt from a book about Kavanaugh that is to come out in a couple of weeks. Kavanaugh fought sexual assault allegations prior to his confirmation by the Senate last October, facing many in Congress who said he was unfit for the position. Amid the renewed call from Democratic candidates and others in Congress, many are asking if and how a Supreme Court justice, who is appointed to the position for life, can be removed from the bench. Here's a look at the impeachment process for sitting federal judges and others. >> Read more trending news  Can a Supreme Court justice be impeached? Yes, a Supreme Court justice can be impeached. Article II Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power to impeach federal judges and gives to the U.S. Senate the right to vote to remove judges who have been impeached. The section reads: 'The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.' Judges are considered part of the 'all civil Officers of the United States' portion of the section. What can a Supreme Court justice be impeached for? The Constitution lays out two specific actions and one vague description of something that could lead to impeachment and removal of a justice from the bench. The Constitution says a person may be removed from office for convictions of 'Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.' While treason and bribery are spelled out, high crimes and misdemeanors are a little vaguer. High crimes and misdemeanors are generally seen as a violation of the public's trust. Sexual assault would fall under that category. How does impeachment work? Impeachment for justices works the same way as impeachment for a president or vice president would work. Here are the steps in the process for impeaching a federal justice: In the House First, an impeachment resolution must be introduced by a member of the House of Representatives. The speaker of the House must then direct the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary (or a special committee) to hold a hearing on the resolution to decide whether to put the measure to a vote by the full chamber and when to hold such a vote. A simple majority of the Judiciary Committee must approve the resolution. If the Judiciary Committee approves the resolution, it moves to a full vote on the House floor. If a simple majority of the those present and voting in the House approve an article of impeachment, then the justice is impeached. In the Senate The procedure then moves to the Senate where a 'trial' is held to determine if the justice committed a crime. There is no set procedure for the trial. Details outlining how the trial is conducted would be set by the Senate leadership. Members of the House serve as 'managers' in the Senate trial. Managers serve a similar role as prosecutors do in a criminal trial, they present evidence during the procedure. The justice can have counsel to represent him during the Senate process. Unlike in the trials of an impeached president or vice president, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court would not preside over the trial of a justice. In an impeachment trial of a Supreme Court justice, the vice president would oversee the proceedings. Senators listen to the evidence presented, including closing arguments from each side and retire to deliberate. Senators then reconvene and vote on whether the justice is guilty or not guilty of the actions he is accused of. It takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict. If the justice is found guilty, he is removed from office immediately. The result of the hearing in the Senate, along with a charge in the House that a justice has committed a crime is not a legal one. No penalty, other than removal from office, is brought against a justice in an impeachment hearing. Has any Supreme Court justice been impeached? Samuel Chase, who was appointed by President George Washington, was impeached in 1804 for 'arbitrary, oppressive, and unjust' decisions on the court. The Senate declined to remove Chase from office on the House's recommendation of impeachment, saying a justice should not be removed from the court because his or her decisions are not popular.
  • A longtime assistant Los Angeles city attorney killed himself last week after gunning down his wife and 19-year-old son, police officials said. Authorities were alerted to the killings when Eric Lertzman’s daughter, 25, fled to a neighbor’s house after escaping through a bathroom window, according to an LAPD news release. The dead include Lertzman, 60; his wife, Sandra Lertzman, also 60; and their 19-year-old son Michael Lertzman. The daughter’s identity was not revealed by police, but Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer identified her as Rachel Lertzman. Sandy Lertzman's sister, Cindy Stern, wrote on Facebook of the shock of the tragedy. “You never think this is going to happen to your immediate family,” Stern wrote. “Still in shock, but completely heartbroken about losing my dear sister Sandy, nephew Michael and brother-in-law Eric to gun violence today. Grateful beyond words that Rachel survived.” A GoFundMe page set up to help Rachel Lertzman in the wake of her family’s deaths had raised more than $122,000 as of Monday morning. >> Read more trending news According to police, dispatchers received a call around 9 a.m. Wednesday for shots fired and an assault with a deadly weapon at the Lertzman home in Northridge. Greg Demos, the neighbor from whom Rachel Lertzman sought help, told KTLA she ran over in her pajamas and said her father had tried to shoot her. She was “upset, confused distraught, somewhat in shock,” as she recounted what happened, Demos told the news station. “‘I don’t know what to tell you, Greg, but this is what just happened in my house, and I don’t know what to do,’” Demos recalled her telling him. “She said, ‘My dad took a shot at me, and my mom and my brother are still inside.’” Demos told ABC7 in Los Angeles that he and Rachel Lertzman ran back to the family’s home. “I went with her to the door and I knocked on the door, yelled. Nothing,” Demos told the news station. “We went to the back. She had locked the doors and left. She said my mom and my brother are still inside. We pummeled on the door, yelled for her dad, yelled her mother’s name and brother’s name. No answer. “And that's when we called the police.” Police officials said the investigation showed Eric Lertzman shot and killed his wife in their bedroom, then attempted to shoot his daughter in her bedroom across the hall. She locked herself in a bathroom for safety. Lertzman then went to his son, Michael, and killed him, authorities said. Watch ABC7's live coverage of the police response to the Lertzman home below. “During this time, (Rachel Lertzman) escaped through the bathroom window and ran to a neighbor’s residence,” the news release said. “Eric returned to the master bedroom, where he turned the weapon on himself, ending his own life.” According to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office, Eric Lertzman died of a gunshot wound to the head. Both Michael and Sandra Lertzman died of multiple gunshot wounds. Their deaths were classified as homicides, while Eric Lertzman's death was labeled a suicide. Two handguns were found in the home, according to police. Feuer said on Twitter that Eric Lertzman had been with the city attorney’s office since 2005. “This is a horrible tragedy,” Feuer said in a statement. “As we search for answers to how this could happen, we mourn the victims and envelop those left behind with our love during this time of unbearable loss. Of course, we will provide members of our city attorney family with needed counseling and support.” Police officials said detectives were still searching for a motive, but “investigators believe the recent loss of a loved one and ongoing health issues played a significant role.” Eric Lertzman’s mother, Phyllis Lertzman, died Aug. 26, according to her obituary. NBC Los Angeles reported that Eric Lertzman had taken leave from work after undergoing a recent colon surgery. The attorney's health had deteriorated over the past year or so, neighbors said. “Just terrible it came to this, that he couldn’t reach out to us or other family members for help,” longtime family friend Russ Beck told the news station. Beck described Eric Lertzman as a “kind soul” who enjoyed riding dirt bikes until his health no longer allowed it. Lertzman’s Facebook page, which had little activity, shows him standing next to a motorcycle and wearing riding gear. Eric and Sandy Lertzman had been married for 33 years, according to social media posts. A post on Sandy Lertzman's Facebook page indicated they celebrated their anniversary Aug. 24, less than three weeks before the homicides. In a 2016 Facebook post, Sandy Lertzman described her husband as a “supreme” husband and father. “I love you forever and can’t wait to share at least the next 30 years with you,” she wrote. In a 2017 anniversary post, which was accompanied by a wedding photo, she described Eric Lertzman as her best friend. Sandy Lertzman also heaped praise on her children on social media. On a birthday post about Rachel Lertzman, the proud mother described her as “amazing, beautiful, charismatic, dedicated, ever-environmental, fabulous, gorgeous, honest, intelligent, journey-driven, kind, loving, multitalented, nondiscriminatory, over-the-top, passionate, quick-witted.” When Michael Lertzman turned 18 in 2017, she wrote: “You are an awesome human being, and we are proud of you and love you! XO, Mom and Dad.” She expressed similar sentiments in October, when her son turned 19. 'From the day you were born, you've brightened our world, and we're very proud of you for the awesome person you are,' she wrote. Family and friends of the Lertzman family expressed shock and sorrow over the killings. Aviva Eagle, who described herself as a cousin, said Sandy Lertzman was “always full of love and always smiling.” Eagle described Michael Lertzman, a student at California State University Northridge, as smart with his whole future ahead of him. Alan Dreiman, president of the university’s chapter of Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, wrote of the teen’s warmth. “Michael was a shining light in our lives, a wound that will never heal,” Dreiman wrote. “A huge thank you to everyone who has offered support. That is the only thing getting everyone through these terrible times. Our condolences are sent out to family, friends, and the community. May we all stay strong.” Chabad at CSUN, the university’s Jewish Student Center, also mourned him on social media. “We are beyond devastated by the horrific news of today,” a post on the group’s Facebook page read. “Chabad at CSUN stands with our AEPI (Alpha Epsilon Pi) brothers, as well as the Northridge community.” Camp Alonim, a program of the American Jewish University-Brandeis Bardin Campus in Simi Valley, said the teen was a longtime camper and staff member. “Mikey’s personal warmth, his gentle spirit, his wide smile and his infectious enthusiasm will never be forgotten,” the group’s Facebook page read. “He will always be a beloved member of our Camp Alonim family. We send our deepest condolences to his sister, Rachel (CIT '10), and the many people whose lives Mikey touched.” A woman named Erica Hartman responded that she had seen Michael Lertzman the Friday before he was killed. “He ALWAYS had a smile on his face and greeted everyone with nothing short of genuine happiness,” Hartman wrote. “We are devastated by this horrible news,” Julie Hertel wrote. “I know there are many current and former campers, my daughter included, that are heartbroken, shocked and numb to hear this news. “Campers should look to their camp family to help them through this difficult time. It helps to be with or talk with others that knew and loved Mikey. Share your stories and memories about him, this will bring comfort to you and your friends. My heart goes out to everyone impacted by this awful situation.”
  • A firefighter died and six other people were wounded Monday morning in a suspected propane gas explosion in Maine. >> Read more trending news  Farmington police Chief Jack Peck said a firefighter died after authorities were called just after 8 am. Monday to investigate a gas smell at a building on Farmington Falls Road. He said the LEAP building at 313 Farmington Falls Road exploded while firefighters were investigating the smell. 'All of us are one big family. We all know each other, especially in a small town,' Peck told reporters Monday at a news conference. 'We all feel for (the slain firefighter's) family. ... It affects us deeply.' Four other firefighters, an employee who works at the building and an ambulance worker were also injured, he said. Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols said the explosion left behind 'total devastation.' Images from the scene showed scattered debris and smoke. 'It looks like a war zone here,' Landry told WMTW. 'The newly constructed building is gone. The adjacent building is half down. (Firefighters) are hosing down what debris is left of the building. Not much.' The explosion took place at the LEAP building, according to the Sun Journal. The nonprofit group works to empower people who have developmental, cognitive and intellectual disabilities, told the Sun Journal that his home shook during the explosion, knocking pictures off his walls. He said when he went outside to investigate, he saw 'complete chaos' and 'complete devastation.' 'It was white insulation, materials everywhere,' he told the Sun Journal. 'I was dumbfounded.' It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion, which sent debris and smoke into the sky before 8:30 a.m., though Peck said a preliminary investigation pointed to a possible gas explosion. 'It looks like it may have been a propane or natural gas leak,' Peck said at a news conference. 'That's in the very early stages of investigation.' Police did not immediately identify the firefighter killed in the explosion, citing the need to notify the firefighter's next of kin. Maine Gov. Janet Mills told reporters she knew the slain firefighter. 'Our hearts go out to all the families of the injured and the deceased and all the people in the community,' she said. Peck said Farmington fire Chief Terry Bell was among the people injured. A majority of the victims suffered burn injuries that appeared to be consistent with a building explosion, he said. The explosion took place at the LEAP building, according to the Sun Journal. The nonprofit group works to empower people who have developmental, cognitive and intellectual disabilities, according to the group's website. Mills said the state Fire Marshal's Office would conduct an investigation into the cause of the explosion. 'Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this tragedy, especially to the loved ones of the firefighter lost and others injured,' she wrote in a Twitter post. 'I am grateful for the work of first responders who are at the scene and urge Maine people to avoid the area.

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