Suspicious fire damages Meijer Trail bridge in Greenville

Montcalm County

GREENVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — People walking the Fred Meijer Heartland Trail in Greenville Thursday were greeted by barricades on either side of a pedestrian bridge over the Flat River, the result of a suspicious overnight fire.

Greenville public safety officers got the call sometime around 3 a.m.

“The fire was just amazing. It was intense,” Tanya Kent, who lives just yards from the bridge, said. “The fire was way up in the trees. They were fighting it from the top down.”

The bridge between Clay and Water streets is actually an old wooden train trestle.

Greenville Public Safety Director Dennis Magirl told News 8 the fire, which caused severe damage to the bridge, was deemed suspicious simply because old wooden train trestles don’t just spontaneously combust.

Investigators are also working to eliminate other potential causes, like a lightning strike.

“Of course, we’re all a little bit worried right now that other things are going to happen down through here,” Kent said.

Late last year, two suspicious fires drew investigators’ attention, including a massive one that ripped through Keystone Automotive in early December. Both fires were close to the bridge. A task force including investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was formed to investigate, but the coronavirus pandemic has slowed that effort.

The proximity of the bridge fire to the others isn’t being ignored by police or neighbors.

“We got kids who run up and down the street and a lot of older people that live down through here and so it’s definitely intense,” Kent said.

If you have any information about any of the fires, you’re asked to call the Greenville Department of Public Safety at 616.754.9161 or contact Silent Observer.

Video courtesy the Greenville Daily News.

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