RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – The former Rio Rancho Jewish Center, across the street from Intel, went up in flames on Sunday, Mar. 5, causing a partial collapse inside. Now, the property owner has taken new measures to keep the abandoned property secure.

“When our crews got here they found flames shooting out of the windows on both the first and second floors,” Ryan Floersheim, a spokesperson for Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue, said. But, just two months before this fire, there was another one inside the same boarded-up building, leaving neighbors on edge. One nearby neighbor said they were afraid of “the possibility of [the fire] going over to the neighbors or even ash coming over this way to our house.”

Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue believe that the earlier December 28th fire was no accident. “We were able to discover security camera footage from across the street which did show an individual leaving the scene prior to the fire starting,” Floersheim said. “However, we were never able to determine whether that person was involved in starting the fire – or involved at all.”

Following the first fire, Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue worked with the city and property owner to secure the building by boarding up windows and doors. Now, after another fire, that process is starting over again. According to fire and rescue, Chabad of New Mexico, the owner of the property, has hired security, fenced off the area, and once again boarded up the building.

While fire crews applaud the property owner and believe they have gone above and beyond to keep the property safe, neighbors are holding their breath. “As long as they keep people out and there’s no more fires,” a neighbor said.

No injuries were reported in either of the fires. In the latest fire, there is still no word on what caused it, and the investigation is ongoing. Fire crews say they don’t know whether anyone was camping in the vacant building.