Montgomery County issues disaster declaration for rail bridge destroyed by fire

500-foot rail line destroyed by fire

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Kan. — A railroad bridge in Montgomery County, Kansas is destroyed after a fire Wednesday afternoon.

Montgomery County issued a disaster declaration Thursday for disrupted commerce after the 500-foot bridge outside of Independence was destroyed by the fire.

A disaster declaration allows for federal funding to help track repairs.

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The Director of Emergency Management for Montgomery County Rick Whitson said the first call of the fire came out around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Around 50 to 75 yards of the trestle bridge caught fire, Whitson says.

The bridge is reportedly a part of the SKOL Railroad; also known as the Southern Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad. The railroad runs from areas of southern Kansas to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where it interchanges with other railroads like BNSF.

Whitson says nine agencies responded to the fire and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Authorities say the bridge could take months to repair.