SOMERVILLE, NJ - A multi-alarm fire swept through a newly-constructed luxury apartment building off James Street Friday morning, burning through hundreds of feet of attic space above the fourth floor.
The building, 200 Parcview Apartments, was unoccupied but nearing residency. An adjacent building, 100 Parcview, began renting in July. Residents of that building were evacuated.
The fire appeared to be contained to the attic area; no flames or smoke were seen on any of the floors beneath the attic, and paper labels affixed to the inside of the windows did not burn.
Somerville firefighters put out calls for assistance around 9:45 a.m., with aerial ladder trucks responding from throughout the county, in addition to other emergency units.
As heavy streams of water were pumped onto the roof, firefighters also trained hoses on the facade of the building in an effort to keep the surface cool and prevent further spread of the fire; flames at times reached 10-15 feet in height. Residents of Lakeview Avenue, which parallels the new apartments, nearby neighborhoods and passers-by drawn by the huge plumes of smoke gathered to watch, to take pictures and film video on their IPhones and tablets. Two news helicopters hovered overhead.
Thick, acrid smoke spread throughout the adjacent neighborhood and drifted in a northeast direction; the smoke could be seen in adjoining communities.
Fire hoses snaked throughout the neighborhood, linked to hydrants on East Main Street. Police and emergency personnel closed off a portion of Main Street, with traffic detoured on to side streets in the vicinity of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital/Somerset.
Emergency units responded from Somerville, Hillsborough, Manville, Green Knoll, Bridgewater, Raritan and other towns.
The two-building development is advertised as a resort-style community in various real estate listings online:
"Welcome to Somerville Parc! This NEW Resort-Style Community offers a pet-friendly environment with all the comfort, luxury lifestyle conveniences & modern amenities you desire. Pet fees applicable. Now Available are 1 & 2 bedroom luxury apartments combined with an incomparable residential & modern ambience starting at $1,950/mo.
"The amenities include a fitness studio, an endless pool, a community lounge, gaming tables & lounge spaces to relax & gather. Residents who work at home can do so in our Work-at-Home lobby area. Just sit back & relax in one of the many lounge areas, enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi & grab some coffee at our exclusive Starbucks Coffee Station. There are 4 Models in this building: The Aquarius, The Benton, The Columbia, and The Dixon."