Cause of Fire That Devastated North Dakota Town Not Known

October 29, 2012

The wildfire that devastated the small southwestern North Dakota town of Bucyrus has been ruled accidental, but the cause likely will never be known.

There is not enough evidence for investigators to determine the cause of the fire that swept through the town last week, forcing the evacuation of 27 residents and destroying four homes, Adams County State’s Attorney Aaron Roseland told KXMB-TV and The Bismarck Tribune.

“It’s not exactly the satisfying conclusion we would have liked,” he said.

Roseland said there was nothing to indicate the wildfire was deliberately set.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Don Temple told the Tribune that the blaze started about 4 miles west of Bucyrus in a farm field, about 40 feet from where an abandoned farmstead building had been burned and buried last March. The landowner handled the burn and burial properly and there is no reason to think there is any connection, Temple said.

With winds gusting about 70 mph the day of the wildfire, the fire source could have come from farther upwind, Temple said.

“Who knows? Anything’s possible,” he said.

No one was injured in the fire, which scorched more than 9 square miles and destroyed two dozen structures. Seven homes and a church in Bucyrus were spared. The four families who lost their homes have found temporary housing, the paper reported. Holy Trinity Catholic Church in nearby Hettinger is holding a benefit lasagna supper Friday night to help the families with expenses.

Lemmon, S.D.-based Dakota Plains Federal Credit Union has set up a relief fund at its branch in Hettinger.

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