MCKEES ROCKS (KDKA) — Heavy smoke blanketed firefighters at what was once the First Methodist Church of McKees Rocks.
“These churches are like big fireplaces and once they catch fire, they go like crazy,” says Fire Chief Nick Radoycis.
Fine, oriental rugs were stored inside the remodeled 1903 building. Many of the rugs were antique, hand-loomed and irreplaceable.
“They were collectable. A lot of them were antiques—100 years old,” says Linder’s owner Ken Ashtari.
Ken Ashtari, an Iranian American bought the Linder furniture business seven years ago. He had been collecting and selling his unique inventory for 25 years.
“It’s very sad. It’s my whole life,”Ashtari says.
Some rugs were rolled and piled 50 deep. The furniture showroom across Yunker Street was undamaged.
“The fire was on the interior of the building and did appear that all the doors were secure and no broken windows,” Chief Radoycis says.
“There was some graffiti on multiple locations of the building,” says Deputy Chief Don Brucker.
Over the weekend, the words “Iran Terrorist” were spray-painted on the building.
“We’re still looking into that avenue. We have a lot of people out here from county police,” Chief Brucker says.
It is very likely that the investigation into this case will carry on for the next few days.