Historic barn on UConn campus destroyed by fire - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Historic barn on UConn campus destroyed by fire

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The remains of a barn that stored farm equipment on the University of Connecticut's Storrs campus. The barn was destroyed by a fire. (WFSB photo) The remains of a barn that stored farm equipment on the University of Connecticut's Storrs campus. The barn was destroyed by a fire. (WFSB photo)
A large fire damaged a landscaping barn on the UConn campus (Contributed by Omario's Pizza). A large fire damaged a landscaping barn on the UConn campus (Contributed by Omario's Pizza).
STORRS, CT (WFSB) -

A large fire destroyed a historic barn on the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs late Monday night. 

According to school spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz, it was a landscaping barn that went up in flames.

Reitz said the building, which was adjacent to the Dairy Bar and several other buildings on campus, dates back to 1922 but was still in active use today. The other buildings were not affected by the fire. 

"My friend heard about it when it was happening so he called me," said Peter Scorzelli, who works at the barn and is a UConn student. "I woke up at 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. It was crazy to see the pictures and video so I came in a little early to see the damage. [I] probably won't have to work today."

There were no reports of injuries to people or livestock. Reitz said the building did collapse and is believed to be a total loss.

"The damage itself is very unfortunate, but no loss of life and that's what we're happy for and keeping in mind," Reitz said. 

The university's dairy cows and other animals are in other barns on the same road. They were never in any danger. However, officials took precautions anyway to ensure their safety.

Reitz said equipment inside the barn was destroyed, including a tractor, a mower, a street sweeper and a Bobcat.

"That's where all the equipment is stored [and] there's a break room," Scorzelli said. "We come in every morning [and] load up with what we need to head out onto campus [for] whatever we need [to do, like] planting stuff [and] mowing."

Scorzelli told Eyewitness News that the university just bought several brand new trucks that were stored in the area of the fire. He said most of them still appear to be OK.

"I noticed a few aren't doing too well," he said.

Reitz said  the building will be taken down. She added they're figuring out where to move the headquarters for landscaping operations and eventually, what to do with that site.

"A lot of campus shuts down and gets quiet once the semester wraps up, but landscape ramps up," Reitz said. "There's a lot to maintain. So, we need to move somewhere else." 

UConn received mutual aid from several surrounding departments, which helped to knock down the fire. Utility companies and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection also provided support. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the UConn police and fire departments with the assistance of the state fire marshal. 

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