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Fire chiefs: Blaze at historic Duluth church was accidental

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Fire officials say the fire that wreaked major damage on an historic church in Duluth was accidental, and have revealed the cause.

KBJR reports the Duluth Fire Marshal's Office found the Feb. 18th fire at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church was caused by faulty electrical wiring.

The fire originated in a void space above the church's plaster ceiling, and was said to have been burning undetected for hours before smoke reached the smoke detector in the drop ceiling, according to the TV station.

The early-morning fire caused damages estimated at $900,000 and took three dozen firefighters to knock down.

Speaking to the Duluth News Tribune, Gloria Dei Pastor David Carlson said the church is awaiting feedback from a structural engineer about the building's stability and whether it can be reused.

"We have every intention of rebuilding in the same location and we do hope that we would be able to use as much of the existing structure as we can," he told the newspaper.

The church congregation has been worshipping at Faith Lutheran Church since the fire, while its administrative office has been moved temporarily to Superior Street, according to its website.

Gloria Dei Lutheran was founded in 1870 as the First Swedish Lutheran Church of Duluth, before moving to its current, Gothic-style building in 1906 to which an education and office building was attached in the 1950s.

Donations to the church can be made here.

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