NORTH PLAINFIELD - A five-alarm fire in the early morning hours Tuesday was being fought at the vacant Villa Maria at 641 Somerset St. At 5:45 a.m. the fire was still burning. It is the second fire at the property in the last three months. The first was on July 13.
Local residents saw and heard news helicopters overhead.
Some drone footage from Nick Yaeger:
The property is owned by Watchung Hills at North Plainfield and is assessed at $3.3 million.
Villa Maria opened in 1889 as a tuberculosis sanatorium by Dr. Justus Cooley, but closed by the beginning of World War I. In 1938, the property was purchased by the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus and was dedicated to troubled and endangered women. A long-term nursing facility was added some time later but closed in 2002.