Dellville Covered Bridge in Perry County destroyed by arson

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First built in 1810, the historic Dellville Covered Bridge has experienced many devastations and early Monday morning — another.

“When I looked out the sliding doors, all I saw was a yellow glow and I looked over and the whole side of the bridge was just engulfed and whew man, that was right before the fire trucks came,” said Rick Barick of Wheatfield Township.

But it was too late. The longest covered bridge in Perry County was completely destroyed. Officials say the fire is suspicious.

"It's still early in the investigation but from what the fire marshall is seeing, I'm not going to get into details but from the stuff that he's seeing that he does believe that it's arson," said Trooper Robert Hicks with Pennsylvania State Police.

Up until five years ago, the bridge was in everyday use. But it was still a scenic place for so many in the community, complete with a picnic area. News of the fire left many here in Wheatfield Township at a loss for words because they say the Dellville Covered Bridge defined the community.

"When it was built, people didn't cross streams because they had to cross with their horse and if it was weather like this they could get hypothermia so people went around creeks rather than cross them so bridges were really rare when this was built," said Dennis Hocker, President of the Historical Society of Perry County.

Residents say it's hard to come to grips with what's happened here overnight and that this bridge has brought them so many memories over the years. "I grew up on it, my kids, while all their prom pictures were there and homecoming pictures and yea it's just a tragic loss," added Barick, as he held back tears.

The bridge is owned by the county and it's up to the commissioners to decide whether they want to rebuild again. State police are asking anyone with information on the fire to contact them at 717-567-3110.

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