UConn deciding on the future of the Whitney House after cause of structural fire remains unknown 

Whitney House fire on the morning of 1/20/23. Photo courtesy of Serena Robidoux.

The University of Connecticut is still deciding on the future of the Whitney House after the cause of the structural fire remains unknown as of Tuesday afternoon. 

The Whitney House was heavily damaged in a structure fire last Friday. UConn was notified of the fire around 6 a.m., according to NBC CT. Although the fire was under control by 8 a.m., the building was extensively damaged. 

The fire was completely extinguished around 10:45 a.m. Route 195, which was closed during the fire, reopened around 2 p.m. 

The Whitney House was unoccupied and no injuries were reported. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, the cause of the fire is still under investigation according to UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz. 

“The fire’s cause is still under investigation, and the building remains boarded and fenced off,” Reitz said. 

Reitz also said that the future of the building is still under discussion due to the severity of the fire. 

“The damage is extensive, and it’s unsafe to enter because the fire damage left the structure very unstable. UConn is in discussions both internally and with outside agencies about the damage, but nothing has been decided so far on next steps,” Reitz said. 

The Whitney House was constructed around 1800, according to WTNH. While UConn was not established until 1881, it served as one of the first landmarks for the newly established university. 

Because of the building’s age, it was originally claimed by UConn to be the oldest on the Storrs campus. However, the fire has revealed that claim may be false, according to Reitz. 

“It originally was reported as the oldest structure at UConn Storrs. However, it now appears it may have been built on materials moved there from an earlier structure elsewhere, and that one of the Whitney House foundation stones was engraved with the earlier date,” Reitz said in an email reported by WNPR

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