UPDATED: Covered Bridge between Cornwall and Salisbury burns

CORNWALL/SALISBURY — A fire of unknown origin burned the covered bridge that crossed Otter Creek between Salisbury and Cornwall on Creek Road/Swamp Road on Saturday afternoon.
Police closed the road (Creek Road in Salisbury and Swamp Road in Cornwall) for an undetermined time.
Isabel Lower of Middlebury and two friends were driving from Cornwall on Swamp Road when they saw smoke coming from the bridge and stopped. A young woman was standing outside her car where she had pulled over and was trying to call. When the woman couldn’t get cell service, Lower herself got on her phone can called 911. It was 2:35 p.m., she said.
“During that 60-second phone call the bridge went from just smoking on the opposite side from us, to entirely engulfed,” Lower told the Independent.
Vermont State Police responded to a report of the fire at 2:51 p.m. Troopers found the bridge fully immersed in flames when they arrived. Firefighters from Cornwall and Salisbury were already on the scene battling the blaze.
Police did not speculate on the cause of the fire, but said they were investigating
Lower and her friends stayed at the fire for less than 10 minutes and took a few photos that accompany this story. The images show how the fire simply consuming the 136-foot-long bridge.
“The heat coming off it was incredible, that and the speed that the flames took over,” Lower said. “From the boat launch I took a few pictures but it was too hot to stay standing that close.”
The bridge was originally built in 1865 with a town lattice truss design. It was overhauled in 2007-2008 and brought up to modern standards.
Lower and her friends left the way they came and encountered Cornwall firefighters racing to the fire at the intersection of Swamp Road and Route 30.
Lower was particularly upset by the apparent loss of a colony of endangered bats that lived in the covered bridge.
“Last summer I saw Fish and Wildlife scientists and students netting the bats leaving the bridge at sundown to tag them,” she said. “Today, as I was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, I did see one bat flap out of the smoke and fall to the road.” 

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