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Cause of big Wahpeton plant fire 'undetermined'

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WAHPETON, N.D. - The cause of a fire that heavily damaged the Industrial Plating plant in Wahpeton in February cannot be pinned down and will remain officially "undetermined," state Fire Marshal Ray Lambert said.

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He said investigators are satisfied the fire was accidental and he said the likely cause was a piece of electrical equipment.

"We know the origin," Lambert said. "There's an awful lot of electrical equipment there and very little else that could be an ignition source.

"Unfortunately, that area took a very heavy hit from the fire and that equipment was damaged to the point it's almost futile to try to figure out exactly which of the hundreds of possibilities took place," Lambert said.

Scott Steffens, Industrial Plating plant manager, said Wednesday the company will likely decide within the next two weeks whether it will rebuild.

"That (decision) is still up in the air," he said.

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