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Investigators believe Winona fire was not intentionally set

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The fire that destroyed three buildings in downtown Winona likely began between the ceiling and roof of the Islamic Center.

WXOW TV in Lacrosse, WI reports that Winona Assistant Fire Chief Jim Multhaup said Thursday investigators believe the fire was probably smoldering for several hours before it was detected.

Two weeks ago, the early-morning fire destroyed the Islamic Center and the Brosnahan Law Firm building and damaged several other neighboring buildings in downtown Winona.

A report in the Winona Daily News said the Winona Fire Department, the state fire marshals office, federal investigators, private investigators, and electrical engineers all have reached the same conclusion. Foul play has been ruled out as a cause of the fire.

The Winona Daily News report says investigators focused their attention on an electrical malfunction, but that the definitive cause will not be determined.

Many of the buildings were not just businesses, several had apartments on the upper floors. About a dozen people were living in apartments in those burned buildings.

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