The landscaping barn, adjacent to the Dairy Bar on the University of Connecticut’s Storrs campus, erupted into flames late Monday night.
The historic building, built in 1922, is “mostly collapsed” due to the fire, university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said.
“At this point, we have to assume it’s a total loss,” Reitz said.
At 10:56 p.m., the UConn 911 call center received two phone calls, with one caller reporting smoke and the other fire. The main working structure fire, which is damage to the structural part of an industrial building, was extinguished at 2 a.m., as well as multiple small fires that occurred, according to Reitz. The fire was declared to be under control around 4 a.m.
Several local fire departments, with additional help from by CNG, Eversource and DEEP, teamed up to keep the fire from spreading, as the buildings are tightly packed together, Reitz said.
The Dairy Bar was unaffected by the fire, Reitz said. The Dairy Bar and surrounding buildings are expected to operate as normal, though detours and changes to parking areas may need to occur, said Reitz.
Omar Taweh, a fourth-semester physiology and neurobiology and psychology dual major, said he and his friends were driving down Route 195 when they noticed the fire.
“My friend in the passenger seat goes, 'Oh my god' like, really slowly,” Taweh said. “She points and we glance over and it’s a massive fire. Like, I’ve never seen one that large in Connecticut before.”
Recent UConn graduate Rafeed Hussain was at the building to take pictures, along with several other students.
"We periodically heard booming explosions which a first responder at the scene explained were tires exploding from the extreme heat," Hussain said, "We could feel the spray from the fire hoses coming down on us, even at our distance, and we could smell the burning material as the smoke blew in our direction.
"As a senior that just graduated, this was the craziest thing I've seen on campus since the men's national championship riot of 2014," Hussain said.
This particular building did not house animals, just equipment. No injuries to people or animals were reported, Reitz said.
This story was updated at 9:37 a.m. We will continue to update as more information becomes available.