Fire that claimed three UW-Stout students ruled accidental
The April 5 fire that claimed the lives of three University of Wisconsin-Stout students in Menomonie has been ruled accidental by authorities.
The fire took place in a two-story structure at 1415 8th St. E. and was called in at around 3:30 a.m.
Scott Hams, 23, Hayward; April Englund, 21, West St. Paul, Minn.; and Amanda Rief, 20, Chaska, Minn., all died in the fire.
An investigation of the fire was conducted by the Menomonie Police and Fire Departments along with the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation - Arson Bureau.
Their investigation found that the fire originated in the living room area, primarily related to a love seat.
However, investigators were not able to discover what caused the fire to start.
Officials did discover used cigarettes in the living room area, but are not sure if they had a role in starting the blaze.
The Menomonie Police Department conducted numerous interviews to re-create the activities prior to the fire.
The Dunn County Medical Examiner's Office has determined that the three individuals died as a result of smoke inhalation.
Preliminary information shows that all three had been consuming alcoholic beverages.
Officials say that final blood alcohol levels are pending tests results from the State Hygiene Lab and caution that it has not yet been determined what role alcohol had in the victims' deaths.