|Burnt railroad ties lie next to the Gordon Creek railroad bridge after a fire on July 31. Both Helper and Price city fire departments were dispatched to the scene where they extinguished the blaze at the bridge. An investigation has been launched into the incident by federal and state authorities.|
State and federal authorities are investigating an apparent railroad sabotage incident in Carbon County.
On July 31, a Utah Railway crew manning a company train reportedly discovered a smoldering fire on the trestle bridge in Gordon Creek at approximately 8:30 a.m.
A train with three engines pulling empty cars was approaching the bridge at approximately 8:30 a.m. when the crew found the fire and reported the incident.
The Price and Helper city fire departments were dispatched to the scene and the emergency crews extinguished the blaze at the bridge.
The 90-foot high railroad trestle bridge is located approximately nine miles southeast of Helper.
Last Thursday, Federal Bureau of Investigation's special agent Timothy Fuhrman and Utah fire marshal Ron Morris confirmed that federal and state authorities had launched an investigation into the incident.
"We don't know if it was malicious kids or a more subversive group such as eco-terrorists," pointed out FBI special agent Brett Robbins during a telephone interview on Monday.
At the time of the interview, Robbins said there was no indication as to the purpose of the alleged attempted sabotage incident.
The special FBI agent said four rail ties were completely burned and seven timbers were damaged in connection with the incident.
In addition to the 11 wooden ties, two metal rails on the bridge were replaced after the incident, according to state and federal investigators.
Utah Railway estimated the fire damage at approximately $4,000.
The sabotage of trains and railways constitutes a federal crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison, indicated the FBI officials.
Railroad sabotage becomes a capital offense if an individual or individuals die as a result of the crime.
Carbon County residents with information regarding the incident are encouraged to contact the FBI office in Salt Lake City at (801) 579-1400.
In addition, Utah Railway officials have offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the subject or subjects involved in the fire at the Gordon Creek bridge.