Investigation Continues Into Fire That Destroyed Covered Vermont Bridge - NECN


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Investigation Continues Into Fire That Destroyed Covered Vermont Bridge

The charred remains of the bridge have become a destination for residents who loved it



    Covered Bridge Fire Deemed Suspicious

    The cause of a fire that destroyed a historic covered bridge in Vermont's Addison County remains under investigation but police say it's suspicious. (Published Monday, Sept. 12, 2016)

    The cause of a fire that destroyed a historic covered bridge in Vermont's Addison County is still undetermined, and Vermont State Police are continuing their investigation.

    All day Monday, Vermonters came to say goodbye to an icon: the one-lane covered bridge connecting the small towns of Cornwall and Salisbury.

    Many visitors to the bridge took photos of the charred skeleton of the local landmark.

    "It's a terrible loss for the community," Cornwall resident Trey Duncanson said of the destruction of the bridge.

    The 1865 wooden structure over the Otter Creek, largely rebuilt nearly 10 years ago using a federal grant, burned Saturday in what Vermont State Police initially called a suspicious fire. The investigation is still ongoing.

    David Aery of Milton and his wife, Barbara, told necn they have taken their picture in front of Vermont's more than 100 covered bridges.

    The couple came back to the bridge in Cornwall and Salisbury Monday to glimpse what's left.

    "They all kind of have their unique look," David Aery said of Vermont's covered bridges. "I'd love to see [this one] rebuilt in some way, shape, or manner."

    Town officials are already talking about the many steps ahead. First up, they have to hear details about insurance payments. Then, Cornwall and Salisbury have to agree on any plan, including debris removal, a temporary bridge, and an eventual permanent replacement.

    "I think there is a great sentimental attachment to the bridge as a local structure, and it is my hope we can find an affordable solution to replacing it with something similar," said Ben Marks, the chair of the Cornwall Select Board.

    Marks noted that the road is well-traveled, and the closure of the bridge will inconvenience many drivers who now must seek detours through either Whiting, Leicester, or Middlebury.

    Also Monday, members of the Cornwall Fire Department were back by the bridge, putting out smoldering hotspots from a 200-plus-acre brush fire sparked during Saturday's massive blaze.

    Vermont State Police said this weekend they want to hear from anyone who was near the bridge Saturday afternoon around 2:15 p.m. at the phone number 1-800-32-ARSON.

    However, with the investigation still underway, police have not said arson is the cause of this fire.

    According to tallies from covered bridge enthusiasts, Vermont had 107 covered bridges before this weekend. The Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing said that number is more per square mile than any other state in the country.

    After Saturday's fire, that number of covered bridges is down to 106.

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