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Whites Bridge Fire Could Cause Emergency Response Delays

IONIA COUNTY, Mich. – Emergency response time has become a concern after Whites Bridge burned down.

Early Sunday morning firefighters were called to the bridge. By the time they arrived, the historic landmark was a complete loss.

Ionia County Sheriff, Dale Miller, said emergency crews will now have to go about 20 minutes out of their way to get to opposite sides of the bridge.

“I think it’s concerning. It’s going to make it difficult for us to respond to these areas,” Miller said.

It’s something people who live nearby also worry about.

“I’m a diabetic and you just never know what’s going to happen to you,” Terrie Trann said. “You could run high, you could run low, and you have to have an ambulance.”

Delayed response times is an issue Miller said they’ve encountered before when other nearby bridges were shut down.

On Monday, investigators were on the scene trying to figure out the cause of the fire. They collected samples from the South side of the bridge that could indicate what type of chemicals were used, if any, to cause the fire. A dog trained to sniff out accelerants was also assisting in the investigation, but didn’t hit on anything, according to authorities.

The samples were sent to a lab in Grand Rapids for testing. Officials said they expect the results in about two weeks.

In the meantime, there’s no word on when or if White’s Bridge will be replaced.

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