LIVE VIDEO: WZZM 13 News    Watch
 

White's Bridge fire devastates community members

11:08 PM, Jul 8, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +
  • Historic Whites Bridge of Keene Township burns down Sunday.
  • Historic Whites Bridge of Keene Township burns down Sunday.
  • Historic Whites Bridge of Keene Township burns down Sunday.
  • The historic Whites Bridge that crosses the Flat River in Keeene Township was the oldest covered bridge in Michigan.
  • The historic Whites Bridge that crosses the Flat River in Keeene Township was the oldest covered bridge in Michigan.
    

KEENE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- White's Bridge was not just a means of transportation. For 146 years, it has been a place for proposals, wedding pictures, family portraits, special celebrations, fishing, kayaking, and relaxation. But ash, wood, and rubble are all that is left after the bridge burned down on Sunday.

Many community members were devastated to lose the historic bridge that crossed the Flat River.

The covered bridge was constructed by Jared Brazee and J.N. Walker in 1867. It was built with the Brown truss, which is a type of architecture that is only found in Michigan. White's Bridge was one of four remaining covered bridges in the state.

"Any time you construct something by hand that lasts 150 years and probably would have lasted another 150 years, I would say you did an excellent job," says Lynn Lafler, community member and former employee of the Ionia County Road Commission.

Lafler has fond memories of the one-way bridge and helped repair it in 1995.

"We actually wrote a grant to replace the old steel roof," Lafler says. "After completing that project the community came together so nicely that we decided to put Christmas lights on it."

Although White's Bridge is now only a pile of wood in the Flat River, Lafler appreciates its unique history and the memories it has created.

"On behalf of Ionia County, thank you," Lafler says.

Police are still investigating the fire. Belding Fire Chief Gregg Moore says, "It is suspicious in nature, but we have not declared it an arson yet."

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact the Ionia County Sheriff's Office at (616) 527-5737 or Silent Observer at (616) 527-0107.

I-96 Towing is prepared to offer a $1000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this act.

Most Watched Videos