UNION TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Police are investigating after several storage units were broken into and set on fire in Lawrence County early Monday morning.
According to officials at the scene, 44 units were damaged at the Convenient Storage on West State Street in Union Township around midnight.
A firefighter a couple of blocks away was the first to spot the fire and call it in.
However, when emergency crews arrived, they quickly realized it was not an accidental fire. They were dealing with vandalism and suspected arson.
Union Township Fire Chief Stephen Stasko said flares were found near the building. He believes whoever broke into the gated area, lit the flares and put them into the individual units.
Chief Stasko also said it was obvious that there was a break-in and the fire is being investigated as arson.
Thieves allegedly cut a hole in the fence around the facility, broke into the units and piled up the stolen items near the fence.
On Monday, people were stopping by the facility to see if their unit was affected. Some were lucky, while others lost their belongings.
“It’s pretty sad that people have that much disrespect for people’s belongings to just go ahead and just start a fire and basically burn their belongings that they work hard for,” Jason Davis said.
“My wife’s pictures, and stuff, that’s irreplaceable. You can’t replace belongings like that. Things that are sentimental, left by her mother and her father. It’s horrible.”
As people deal with the loss of items that cannot be replaced, the Union Township Police Department will work with State Police to determine who is responsible.
Another fire was reported a couple of miles away around 2 a.m. A shed was set on fire after an ATV was stolen from it.
There is no word on if the two incidents are related at this time.