A four-day recycling yard fire in Becker, Minnesota, extinguished on Feb. 22 has been ruled accidental by the State Fire Marshal Division.
“Based on a systematic examination of the fire scene, burn pattern analysis, fire artifacts found, witness statements, and other data, it is determined that the area of origin for the fire was approximately 20-30 yards into the piled metals,” a copy of the report released to KARE states.
With the fire buried so deep and no evidence that anyone tried to climb the pile, the report states that no “intentional reasons” for the initial ignition could be determined. Somehow a spark or other heat source ignited combustible in and around the pile.
State officials including Gov. Tim Walz criticize the yard owner, Northern Metals Recycling, for not following required procedures at its Becker facility. However, company CEO Scott Helberg countered that the Becker site has never opened as a recycling operation.
A Ramsey County judge ruled in February that the Becker facility remain closed pending an investigation.