Suspected arson severely damages historic bridge in northern MN

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A historic 113-year-old trestle bridge, believed to be the longest-standing in Minnesota, was severely damaged by a fire early Monday – and authorities believe it was set intentionally.

Dozens of Blackduck firefighters responded to the fire around 5:15 a.m. Monday, and it took them about an hour and a half to put out the flames, the Bemidji Pioneer reports.

About 200 feet of the 701-foot-long trestle were destroyed, Red Lake Nation News says.

Officials are investigating it as arson, reports note.

The Minnesota and International Railway Trestle at Blackduck was completed in 1902, to provide a rail link between Bemidji and what is now International Falls, according to its listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The bridge spans Coburn Creek, just outside of downtown Blackduck, in Beltrami County.

It was converted to part of the Blue Ox Trail after the Minnesota Department of Transportation took ownership of it in 1992. Now it's frequently used by snowmobilers, four-wheelers and hikers, reports say.

What is a trestle?

A trestle is a type of open, braced framework used to support something, oftentimes a railroad bridge.

Timbers, piles or steel are common materials used.

Timber trestles, such as those that make up the Blackduck bridge, were commonly used for railroads in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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