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Published June 16, 2011, 06:15 PM

Amish Community Rebuilds Barn Destroyed In Arson Fire

One week after someone burned down his barn and killed three of his livestock, William Bontrager and friends and family are making the best of their situation.

One week after someone burned down his barn and killed three of his livestock, William Bontrager and friends and family are making the best of their situation.

As investigators look for whoever set the fire in this Amish community near Fertile Minnesota, Bontrager has been busy rebuilding.

is taking it in all stride.

"One week ago today that was smoldering and it was gone," said Greg Petry, a friend and neighbor.

The structure behind Petry is proof life goes on.

"That floor was going on the barn two days ago and look at it now. They said 10 days we are going to have this done because we have cows to milk and hay to bail," he said about Bontrager's nearly finished new barn.

A week ago Bontrager had more on his mind. A farmer in an Amish community just outside of Fertile, MN, he woke up to find his barn on fire. Three of his cows died in the flames.

The Polk County Investigator said the fire was arson.

"To see him standing there with the smoldering barn...it was...my feelings were of disgust," said Petry.

Now Petry is feeling a great sense of pride as he watches his Amish friends and neighbors rebuild a vital part of this farm.

It is hard to believe this barn is almost fully enclosed after seven days.

"Many hands make light work," said Tim Johnson, a friend who will drive members of the Amish community.

80 hands, 40 men and a few tools.

"The most modern tool you'll hear is a chainsaw," said Johnson, in reference to the very basic tools used.

"Everyone takes their section and it just goes with ropes, horses and men," said Petry.

"Quite a crew. It's pretty remarkable," said Allen Pierson, from Fertile.

Bontrager is pretty remarkable too.

"Maybe it wasn't a good thing, but good things come from bad things. God will make good things come if we let him," he said.

Though he and his friends and family have a plan for who burned the barn down.

"They said, 'We'd like him to work beside us and we could try to make him a better man," said Petry.

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