KEYSER, W.Va. — The wooden access bridge to the Sunnydale Addition that recently collapsed has been repaired by residents and can be used by cars, but not emergency vehicles, according to Mike Simpson, Keyser Volunteer Fire Department assistant chief.
The bridge, which is privately owned, collapsed while a Keyser Volunteer Fire Department ladder truck was traveling across it in response to a house fire in the Sunnydale Addition early Saturday morning.
The bridge supports will be inspected to determine if it is strong enough to support a fire truck and if not, another option to strengthen the supports will need to be considered, according to Simpson.
If another emergency occurs in that area, the Keyser Volunteer Fire Department plans to temporarily use another access that will require them to traverse across two residential yards, said Simpson.
The bridge collapsed and caused the department’s 75-foot KME aerial ladder truck to overturn. The extent of damages to the ladder truck is still unknown; however, a manufacturing company representative has been contacted, according to Simpson.
“If the frame is bent it is a total loss,” said Simpson.
The ladder truck’s rear outrigger saved the apparatus from falling completely into Stoney Run, Simpson said on Saturday.
Since the fire truck cannot be used, New Creek and Tri-Towns volunteer fire departments have been added to the alarm system so they are able to respond with aerial trucks.
Mineral County Sheriff’s Department and West Virginia State Police responded to the scene to investigate a domestic complaint about an hour before the fire was reported.
The sheriff’s office took into custody Robert Lee Suter, 44, on a charge of first-degree arson.
Suter initially was held without bond at the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail but is no longer listed as an inmate, according to online records.
A preliminary investigation showed that Suter allegedly ignited items in the garage before the fire spread to the residence that he reportedly occupied with his wife.
Contact Elaine Blaisdell at firstname.lastname@example.org.