202 Eddy Street after it was damaged by a fire in March 2014. (Courtesy Ithaca Fire Department)

Ithaca, N.Y. — A Collegetown house that was badly damaged by a fire in March will likely be rebuilt in its entirety but has to be demolished first, according to city councilwoman Ellen McCollister.

The property at 202 Eddy Street, which McCollister said has “substantial damage, particularly to the third and upper stories,” is expected to be rebuilt to closely match the original building. McCollister spoke about the building during a meeting at City Hall on Wednesday.

The property, which caught fire on March 14, housed 12 students at the time of the fire, according to the Cornell Daily Sun. All 12 were displaced.

After the fire was put out at 202 Eddy Street. (Courtesy Ithaca Fire Department)

A definitive cause of the fire has not been found, Ithaca Fire Department Lt. Tom Basher said.

If fire investigation teams can’t prove definitively what the cause was, Basher said, they leave the cause as “undetermined.”

Basher said that the fire may have been caused by “carelessly discarded smoking materials,” although he stressed there is no way to tell exactly what caused the fire.

McCollister said in the council meeting Wednesday night that the owners “hope to rebuild it with the same footprint, same number of occupants, and the same architecture.”

McCollister also noted that before there is to be any reconstruction, the owners have to go through the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Committee for approval.

The committee, which recognizes hundreds of addresses as “locally designated historic properties,” will approve or deny the design of the home, which will look “almost the same” as the previous home, according to Gabriella Brito, who interns with the committee.

If the design receives approval from the committee, Brito said, the owners would then need to seek a building permit from the City of Ithaca.

Kyle Friend

A senior at Cornell University, Kyle covers the affordable housing crisis for the Ithaca Voice. Reach him through e-mail: kyleafriend@gmail.com.