SPRING VALLEY - A smoky fire in Spring Valley at an abandoned house is now under investigation.
No one was hurt, but officials believe the fire may have been started by squatters living inside. News 12 has also learned the home is partially owned by the president of the East Ramapo School District, Yehuda Weissmandl.
Officials say the house at 26 Lawrence St. is a crime scene as investigators try to figure out how the fire broke out in a boarded up building without gas or electricity. Spring Valley's Deputy Fire Chief, Ken Sohlman, says officials first on the scene found two homeless people outside the building.
Firefighters say the blaze was so big and smoky, it's lucky anyone walked out alive, if they in fact had been inside.
In August, Weissmandl was the target of allegations that he owned illegally subdivided apartments, also in Spring Valley. Authorities say it was his responsibility to keep squatters out of the abandoned home.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.