NORTH PLAINFIELD - A five alarm fire in the early morning hours of Tuesday morning is being fought at the vacant Villa Maria at 641 Somerset Street. At 10 a.m. the fire was still burning and fire companies are being rotated, continuing to operate 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 but 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.