By David Highfield

HERMINIE (KDKA) — Investigators say a fire in Westmoreland County was arson, but the even bigger surprise was what firefighters discovered inside the building – money fell from the ceiling, according to a reliable source.

The source says it’s a large amount of cash, possibly into the thousands.

The building at one point housed a bar and two apartments above.

People in the small town of Herminie have also heard about firefighters finding the cash. Rick Blehart, who lives next door, says he heard there were thousands of dollars.

“I heard one firefighter saying, ‘I could have filled my pockets up,'” said Blehart.

He and his wife suspect the bar’s previous owners who have passed away may have stashed the money there. “I think they just hid it around the house.”

Authorities now have the cash which is charred and wet. The total amount is unknown.

While surprised about the money, neighbors are now concerned because the fire marshal has ruled the fire an arson.

“It’s getting closer and closer seems like,” said neighbor Dave Gelet. He took pictures of the flames just down the hill from his home.

The Bleharts credit fire fighters with keeping the flames from spreading to their home. They said fire crews did an incredible job.

Neighbors say the bar has been closed since last April but that tenants left the apartments above a short time ago.

KDKA tried but was unable to reach the building’s owner Thursday night.

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