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Forum staff reports, Published January 24 2011

Clay County highway shop fire near Barnesville ruled accidental

The Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office has determined that a fire that destroyed a Clay County Highway Department shop near Barnesville on Dec. 28 was accidental.

The source of the fire was a malfunction in a device in one of the vehicles being stored in the shop, said Kristine Chatin, a spokeswoman for the fire marshal’s office.

Chatin said no other details were available and she said the state’s investigation remains open while insurance companies complete their own investigations.

In addition to the shop, the fire destroyed equipment and several vehicles being stored inside.

County Engineer Dave Overbo has estimated the loss may total $1.6 million.