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Published June 05 2012

Minneapolis church fire ruled accidental

MINNEAPOLIS — Investigators have ruled accidental the fire that destroyed the Walker Community United Methodist Church in south Minneapolis over Memorial Day weekend.

A Minneapolis police spokesman says an arson investigator's report says the fire was likely caused by lightning.

Heavy thunderstorms blanketed the area that evening. A witness told fire officials that lighting struck the church building's north side before the fire started.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports five firefighters were injured battling the blaze, including one who remains hospitalized in the burn unit at Hennepin County Medical Center.

The congregation is currently worshiping at the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre.