Historic bridge collapses following fire

The Shiawassee County Sheriff is investigating a fire that on the Newberry Road wooden railroad...
The Shiawassee County Sheriff is investigating a fire that on the Newberry Road wooden railroad trestle bridge.(Shiawassee County Sheriff)
Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 9:49 AM EST
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DURAND, Mich. (WNEM) - A historic bridge over a railroad in Shiawassee County was destroyed in an early morning fire.

Flames spread quickly along the Newberry Road wooden bridge, causing it to crash onto the railroad tracks below.

“We got on scene, figured out what we had to do,” said Bill Hart, the Assistant Fire Chief of the Vernon Township Fire Department.

Firefighters from seven departments were called to assist at the scene.

“It was a rickety bridge. People would drive on it,” Hart said. “We got ahold of area fire departments, started putting water on it, got a hold of CN railroad. The supervisor said there is really nothing we can do. Just let it burn and we will put it out when it falls.”

No one was injured in the fire or the collapse of the bridge. Investigators suspect the fire may have started underneath.

“We always have people down here messing around. Back in April we had a fire down in here and we put it out, we knew sooner or later it was gonna happen again,” Hart said.

Officials said the fire is causing a major backup for trains, with some delayed all the way to Chicago.

“We’re trying our best to get it open and have everybody happy,” Hart said.

Cleanup will continue into the evening. It is not clear if it will be rebuilt. Investigators are asking everyone to stay away from the area.

Anyone with information about the fire is encouraged to call 989-720-TIPS.