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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Bridgeton bridge burns during night

Thursday, April 28, 2005

- Bridgeton Grist Mill was also damaged by the fire

Shortly before 1 a.m., firefighters and emergency personal were called to the scene of a fire at the 137-year old Bridgeton Bridge.

"When our firefighters arrived, the bridge was fully engulfed," Bridgeton Volunteer Fire Department firefighter Mark Cotton said. Four volunteer fire departments responded in an effort to save the historic town landmarks. "It was clear that our first objective was to save the mill."

The Bridgeton Grist Mill sustained no structural damage to the mill, but Plexiglas windows on the east side of the building melted from the intense heat of the bridge fire.

The loss of the 137-year old landmark will impact the communities ability to attract tourism to the area during the upcoming fall Parke County Bridge Festival.

"This tragedy will have devastating impact of our town," Parke County Chief Deputy Eddie McHargue said. Many of the men who fought to save the landmarks have lived their entire lives in the area. McHargue declined to comment on news reports that arson is suspected.

State Fire Marshall officers were on the scene within hours, with the investigation of the probable cause of the fire centered on the north end of the structure at press time.

The personnel from the Parke County Sheriff's Department, Indiana State Police, Indiana Conservation Officers and units from volunteer fire departments from the towns of Rosedale, Rockville and Bellmore worked throughout night.

"I saw a lot of tears in the night," said Bridgeton Fire Chief Kevin Ratcliff. "This is a tragedy."

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