LINDSBORG — The McPherson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating as suspicious a blaze before 9 a.m. Saturday that burned a bridge on the undeveloped portion of the Meadowlark Trail, about a quarter mile west of 14th Avenue, according to Lindsborg Fire Chief Matt Clark.
Clark said firefighters with the Lindsborg Volunteer Fire Department fought the fire on the bridge, which was about 65 feet long and 20 feet high.
“The fire was pretty well engulfed when the first unit got on the scene,” Clark said. “It was a creosote bridge. The wood had been treated with creosote and that makes it tougher to completely extinguish.”
The fire occurred the same morning as an anticipated work day for the Central Kansas Conservancy on the undeveloped portion of the Meadowlark Trail.
The undeveloped portion includes a 5-mile stretch between Shawnee Road, near Lindsborg, and Pawnee Road, near McPherson. The bridge was within that undeveloped area.
Members of the CKC, which received an easement from the railroad to develop the trail, were met with opposition Saturday morning as they attempted to begin work, mainly from owners of land abutting the trail.
“The Central Kansas Conservancy is very saddened that someone burned a usable bridge structure on a section of the Meadowlark Trail,” said Michele Cullen, president of the CKC board. “CKC expects the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Both Capt. Joe Hoffman, with the McPherson County Sheriff’s Office, and Clark deemed the fire “suspicious.”
“It was burning for no apparent reason. That bridge had been there a long time. I can’t tell you how long, but it was a very long time,” Hoffman said. “We believe it was set, but right now we can’t prove it.”