MONROE - Arson investigators are probing a house fire in an area of Monroe involved in a bitter turf war.
Officials say it could take weeks to determine exactly what sparked the fire at a Seven Springs Road home along the border of Monroe and the Hasidic village of Kiryas Joel.
On Tuesday, arson investigators scoured the site for clues after finding a broken gas main.
Neighbors told News 12 Wednesday that the homeowner, Eli Neuhauser, lives there part-time and is believed to be the same man who told News 12 the day before that he was a renter there and that he was gone all day at synagogue.
Neuhauser’s friend Isaac Weiss says they both believe someone else set the fire on purpose. Weiss says Neuhauser is one of dozens who have petitioned for their land to be rezoned from Monroe into Kiryas Joel.
Some neighbors said off camera that the homeowner had business and marital problems, but they also said they don't believe he started the fire.
Officials say the property has had a number of maintenance code violations for years, and that it was partially damaged in another fire in 2011.