A fire ravaged the iconic venue in suburban Joliet Wednesday afternoon, and a post-fire investigation is now underway.
The fire at the Patrick Haley Mansion on the first block of the South Center broke out Wednesday afternoon as staff prepared for the event, officials said.
Authorities said the fire was contained within 40 minutes and firefighters remained on site for several hours to extinguish the hot spot.
An official cause has not yet been identified and an assessment of the damage is ongoing.
No injuries have been reported.
Built in the 1890s, the mansion is a popular venue for weddings and other events, and Joliet residents say it is an important part of the city’s history.
Eyewitness Robert Hernandez said, “So many people who were here with the Historic Preservation Commission who were crying because of the historical significance of the city of Joliet came out to the scene.” .
Hernandez said smoke could be seen billowing from the building as the fire progressed.
“When I arrived there was just smoke all over the roof and flames coming out of one chimney,” he said.
Hernandez is one of many residents who want to preserve the building and restore it to its former glory.
“In my heart, I was praying that this wouldn’t be the last time I saw the Haley mansion, because it means so much to Joliet residents,” he said.