July 31, 2020: James Crouse has passed along this information from Linda Burns about the Bell's Mill Covered Bridge. Linda writes that "someone tried to burn down Westmoreland County's only surviving covered bridge, Bells Mill, early this AM, July 31, 2020. Luckily the surrounding neighbors on this little country road are protective and someone saw the smoke and called 911. The firefighters got there in record time and put the fire out. The only damage is two holes in the floor, one is burned through. The bridge is closed to traffic until it can be inspected for any other damage. It is owned by Westmoreland County and crosses Sewickley Creek. It will be a hardship for those living on either side to get to where they want to go."
Sewickley Township Supervisor Brian Merdian posted this announcement on the Hutchinson VFD Facebook page: "I am saddened to say that a small early morning fire on the Bells Mills Covered Bridge has CLOSED the bridge indefinitely. Westmoreland County Public Works has already been on scene and will be handling the inspection and subsequent repair of the bridge. Please notify your friends and family of this situation so everyone knows to avoid using this road at this time. And a HUGE THANK YOU to the gentleman who reported this fire earlier today. Your attention to seeing smoke and reporting it may have just saved this bridge!"
Anita Larkin Ford has provided a link with a published article from the Trib Live website: Historic Bells Mills Covered Bridge saved from fire in Westmoreland County.
Our thanks to James Crouse, Linda Burns, and Anita Larkin Ford for passing this information along. Thanks to Linda Burns and Brian Merdian for permission to use the photos.