A Chicago suburb's only gay bar was destroyed in a Sunday fire that its owner has deemed "suspicious" due to apparent anti-gay graffiti discovered in its remains.
According to the Wednesday Journal, a fire broke out at Velvet Rope Ultra Lounge, located at 728 Lake St. in Oak Park, Ill., around 6 a.m. Sunday. Its front windows were shattered and the formerly-chic restaurant and cocktail bar appeared practically gutted.
Frank Elliott, owner of the bar, told WGN that he was "shocked" by the fire. He is suspicious about the fire's causes because of anti-gay comments he found scrawled on the remains of the club's wall. Further, Elliott says, he found the bar's back door kicked in, while a safe located in his office was left untouched.
"My whole life, everything that I've worked for ... my whole life is on the line and I don't know what to think or even begin with," Elliott told the station.
No one was injured in the blaze.
According to Patch, adjacent businesses to the club closed due to smoke damage, including Klay Oven, Flat Top Grill and Gepetto's Toy Box.
Police continue to investigate the scene and a preliminary report on their findings was expected Monday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.