The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating what authorities are calling a suspicious fire over the weekend that destroyed a bridge near Ballinger.
“The bridge was a lost cause before we got there,” says Brent Allen, the Ballinger Fire Assistant Chief.
Charred beams and memories are the only things left of 12 mile bridge. It’s about 12 miles south of Ballinger, over the Colorado River. It was a wooden and steel structure.
Sunday, someone spotted the bridge on fire.
Brent Allen, the Ballinger Fire Assistant Chief, says since the new concrete bridge was built decades ago, the bridge was used as a backdrop.
“And that’s what most people did. they either went to go put their initials on it when it was newer and then as it got older, most people wanted to take pictures, senior pictures, things like that on there,” says Allen.
Some used to jump from the bridge into the water below.
“When Ivey was first filled, there was some people who were jumping off of it then,” says Ballinger.
While on the call, Allen posted a video of the bridge smoldering on Facebook, quickly getting a lot of community response. One comment says “So sad. Lots of jumping off that bridge memories.” another reads “isn’t that the same bridge we jumped from?”
“So it’s got some nostalgia for some of the people,” says Allen.
But for the Ballinger Fire Department, Sunday was all about keeping the fire contained.
Not only did the bridge burn but the fire spread onto the grass. That’s what the crew was trying to do. They spent several hours trying to stop the fire from spreading onto the brush nearby.
“It is suspicious in nature,” says Allen. The state fire marshal is set to investigate whether it was arson.