By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
What was supposed to be an enjoyable hunting trip for two Havre men ended badly Friday when their camp site near White Sulphur Springs was burned to the ground.
The Meagher County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident.
Havre resident Dan Frickle said he and hunting partner Paul Nelson returned to their camp on Moose Creek in the Lewis and Clark National Forest to find Frickle's tent destroyed.
"Whoever did it cut two propane lines to add to the fire," he said. "It went really hot, really fast."
The fire started Friday while the two hunters were in White Sulphur Springs for the afternoon. They had set up the camp on Wednesday.
The fire claimed thousands of dollars in guns, clothing and hunting equipment, Frickle said.
"I was just kind of in shock," he said. "I've been hunting there for 40 years, and have never had anything like this happen. To see all that equipment go up in smoke because someone didn't like me, it's tough."
Frickle said some of the items destroyed are covered by homeowner's insurance.
"Right now, it's under investigation as a suspicious fire," said Meagher County Undersheriff Jon Lopp. Lopp said some evidence had been collected from the scene and submitted to the state crime lab for analysis. He declined to release any other information about the investigation.
Frickle said he plans to continue hunting this weekend, although not in the same area.
"We're pretty bummed out," he said. "We're going to take a week off, then set up camp somewhere else."