NORTH PLAINFIELD — Firefighters continue to battle a five-alarm fire that began in the early hours of Tuesday morning at the vacant Villa Maria facility at 641 Somerset Street. At 10 a.m. the fire was still burning and fire companies were being rotated, continuing to operate by hitting hot spots of active fire, authorities said.
Somerset Street South was closed and heavy smoke filled the air.
Drone video from Nick Yaeger:
It is the second fire at the property in the last three months.
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 and closed by the beginning of World War I. In 1938, the property was purchased by the Servants 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.