Old Wykeham Rise building declared “total loss” after fire

WTNH / Report-It

WASHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Washington firefighters remained on-scene at the old Wykeham Rise School for Girls through Monday morning, after they say a fire destroyed the structure.

Litchfield County Dispatch (LCD) says over 10 fire departments had to be called in from surrounding towns, after they fielded multiple calls about a fire at 96 Wykeham Road, beginning at 8:47 p.m.

LCD says the fire was declared under control almost three hours later, and was deemed a “total loss” not long after that.

(Photo: Wykeham Rise School for Girls)
(Photo: Wykeham Rise School for Girls)

The Office of the State Fire Marshal took over the investigation, but Washington firefighters stayed on-scene after a small “rekindling” occurred just after 6 a.m. Wykeham Road is open.

No injuries were reported.

According to The News-Times, the 27-acre site was sold in March of 2014 to Paligroup, a California company specializing in building high-end hotels. While there is no word on the status of the renovations at this point, the News-Times reported Paligroup’s plan to build an inn on the property.

The News-Times also reports that Wykeham Rise School for Girls was founded in 1902 as a college prep school, closed in 1943, reopened in 1963, only to close again. The article says that part of the cache of the property came from its musical roots. They report, “when the Rolling and their 25-member entourage were looking for a place to rehearse for a 1989 world tour, the school’s board of trustees was willing to give them a six-week rental. Neighbors reportedly took a dislike to the tour buses crawling past the property and media helicopters buzzing overhead.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Stay tuned with News 8 for updates.

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