Multi-agency callout after bridge collapse near old Pondosa mill

PONDOSA, Calif. — Although authorities have not yet provided any details, official radio traffic and a CHP incident log indicate that multiple law enforcement and fire agencies responded to reports of a bridge collapse that may have involved a vehicle this afternoon, Sunday, Sept. 20.

According to CHP’s incident log, Cal Fire-Shasta Trinity firefighters who made their way to the reported victim found him and his stranded vehicle at “the old mill site” in Pondosa after the man’s wife hiked to Bartle to report the incident.


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The mill, which some locals still refer to as “Tie Town” from its days in operation under the Ben Cheney Lumber Company cutting railroad ties for the McCloud River Railroad and other area rail companies, is located about two miles northeast of SR-89 and about eleven miles by highway from Bartle.

Although slowly being reclaimed by the surrounding forest, many buildings and structures remain at the old Pondosa mill and town sites, including these two large buildings which once housed the mill’s office and general store (R) and a recreation hall (L). McCloud River Railroad Company photo

CHP and Cal Fire, along with Mt. Shasta and Burney Station sheriff’s deputies, were dispatched to the area shortly before 2 p.m., after receiving a 911 call reporting a bridge had collapsed as a man was driving across it.

Based on the initial 911 call, it was not immediately known where or how large the bridge was, what kind of vehicle the man was driving, or if he had been injured when the bridge collapsed.

Firefighters reached the victim shortly after 2:30 p.m., at which time they updated that the man was not injured and that his vehicle was stuck near the long-defunct mill, which was reportedly last used around 1979.

As of 2:40 p.m., CHP’s log indicated officials were helping the victim make arrangements to have a wrecker recover his vehicle where it remained stranded and almost all on-scene or still responding resources were released from the call.

A CHP incident log indicated a woman hiked to Bartle to find help after her husband’s vehicle became stuck when a Pondosa bridge he was driving over “gave way.” It was not immediately known if the woman had been with the man when the bridge collapsed, stranding his vehicle near Pondosa’s old mill site.

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Contact the writer: [email protected]

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.