The Minnesota fire marshal's office says the April 17 fire that destroyed the North Star Foods meat processing plant in St. Charles was accidental, but its cause is unknown.
Kristine Chapin of the Department of Public Safety says the ruling means the fire was not caused by arson, but investigators were unable to determine the exact cause -- and the cause may never be determined.
Chapin says the ruling allows private entities including insurance carriers to take over the investigation, and a cause could be determined through civil proceedings.
The fire caused the evacuation of St. Charles and put several hundred employees out of work.
North Star Foods' owners say they are waiting for their insurance company to make a final determination of coverage before deciding to rebuild and where.
Information from: KAGE-AM, http://www.winonaradio.com