G.J. Boy May Face Charges Over Bridge Burning

Historic Utah Bridge Destroyed By Arson

A 92-year-old wooden suspension bridge across the Colorado River near Moab, Utah, has been destroyed by a fire that began with a Colorado boy playing with matches.

Grand County Sheriff Jim Nyland said that Dewey Bridge was in the path of a fire that crawled up the riverbank Sunday from a campground about a quarter-mile away.

He said a 7-year-old boy camping with his parents had gone down to the river and started a brush fire with matches. The fire burned brush underneath the bridge, which then ignited.

A strong breeze spread the flames over 10 acres. The campground was evacuated but no one was injured.

County and federal authorities are investigating for possible charges. The boy and his family are from Grand Junction, Colo. No names were released.

Construction on the 502-foot-long suspension bridge began in 1915 and was completed in 1916 by the Midland Bridge Co. The bridge, located roughly 30 miles northeast of Moab, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was the second-longest suspension bridge west of the Mississippi River when it opened. San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge edged the 502-foot-long Dewey Bridge out of first place.

The bridge linked some remote parts of eastern Utah to Colorado's largest city, Grand Junction, before a wider, concrete bridge replaced it in 1988.

Grant money stemming from the bridge's placement on the national registry may help restore the bridge, Dave Bailey, curator of history at the Museum of Western Colorado, told the Grand Junction Free Press.

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