Fire at Whitney House still under investigation

Jan. 24—STORRS — As of Monday morning, the fire that did significant damage to the historic Whitney House on Friday was still under investigation, according to University of Connecticut Fire Marshal Steve Garvin.

For safety precautions, on Monday morning, fencing had been installed around the building and the house was also boarded up.

This comes after UConn fire crews were notified shortly after 6: 20 a. m. Friday of smoke and flames visible from the back of the Whitney House on Route 195 in Storrs Mansfield in front of Mirror Lake.

" UConn Public Safety was notified around 6 a.m. Friday of a fire in the house, which was almost fully engulfed at one point," UConn Spokesperson and Manager of Media Relations Stephanie Reitz said early Friday morning. " Damage is extensive."

Firefighters were joined by crews from several other agencies. Together they were able to bring the fire under control by 8 a.m.

Fire crews remained on site afterward to locate and knock down small fires within the walls and other parts of the building. One lane of Route 195 remained closed for emergency apparatus for several hours.

At the time of the fire, the building was not currently in use and no injuries were reported.

The class and work schedules at UConn Storrs were not affected by the fire.

Reitz said the Whitney House dates to around 1800, making it one of the oldest buildings on the UConn Storrs campus.

The house was once the home of Edwina Whitney, an early librarian and instructor when the institution was the Connecticut Agricultural College.

Reitz said that the building has been used for many purposes in the time that UConn has owned it, including as the International House in the 1960s and home of the Rainbow Center in the 1990s and early 2000s.

At press time, UConn Fire Chief William Perez had not yet returned the Chronicle's request for comment.

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