Arson destroys 144-year-old covered wooden bridge in west Michigan

Jul 7, 2013

KEENE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Authorities in rural western Michigan say an arson fire has destroyed a historic covered wooden bridge that has spanned the Flat River since the 19th century.

The Ionia County sheriff's department says the fire started about 5:10 a.m. Sunday on Whites Bridge It was built in 1869 in Keene Township, about 15 miles east of Grand Rapids.

There's no immediate report on suspects.

MLive.comĀ  says the bridge collapsed into the river and was still smoldering at midmorning on Sunday.

The bridge is one of the oldest such structures in Michigan.

Kayaker Debra Scheffler of Grand Rapids says "it's not something you can replace."

A historic marker says the bridge had hand-hewn trusses covered with rough pine boards, held together with wooden pegs and hand-cut square iron nails.