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Arson suspected in fire that destroyed rural Barnesville home

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BARNESVILLE, Minn. - Arson is suspected in a fire Wednesday night that destroyed a rural Barnesville home where authorities already were investigating four fires last week, including a pair that burned up a deck and barn.

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Sheriff Bill Bergquist said the blaze on the Matt and Tara Andvik property was reported just before 9 p.m. by Tara Andvik, who was home alone at the time but wasn't injured.

The fire started on the back patio and spread to the house, Bergquist said.

"It's pretty much destroyed. It's still standing, but a lot, a lot of damage," he said.

Barnesville and Hawley fire crews put out the fire.

Authorities searched the area for suspects but didn't find any, Bergquist said.

Authorities have said last week's fires appeared to have been intentionally set and came shortly after Tara Andvik, a well-known bow hunter, began to receive threatening messages from anti-hunting activists. One of the threats, most of which were delivered on Facebook, originated from an Australian woman who said Tara Andvik's house should be lit on fire with her family inside it, Tara Andvik said.

Andvik said the "personal and graphic" comments began streaming in within the past few weeks, roughly 200 messages about which she and Matt had notified authorities before the fires.

Asked this morning if authorities are investigating the animal rights activists, Bergquist said, "We're looking at everybody and anybody."

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