interesting insights and stories about fires and firefighters during the
Civil War, check this web site:
Firemen and Fire Companies in the Civil War
This short except about Wrightsville
from a firefighter's point of view is just one of many stories there.
"On June 27, 1863 the citizens of
Lancaster and York counties had a devastating fire when the Union soldiers
dynamited the world’s longest covered bridge. It spanned the Susquehanna
River between Wrightsville, York County and Columbia Borough, Lancaster.
The Northern troops wanted to prevent Confederate troops from attacking
Lancaster. The original intent was to destroy only one section of the bridge.
But when the bridge was not destroyed by explosives the order came to burn
it. The bridge included both a roadway and railroad tracks and acted as
a wind tunnel. Soon the huge fire became a concern for the communities.
In Columbia, crews raced onto the bridge and tried to cut a fire break
but they were unsuccessful. The fire did set one building ablaze. Firemen
were assisted by soldiers and residents and the fire did not spread. In
Wrightsville, the Confederate troops wanted to save the bridge but the
residents provided no assistance. Finally, as the fire roared toward the
town, the townspeople broke out the fire buckets. Due to the delay several
commercial and residential buildings were lost."