A fire broke out Wednesday at the Patrick Haley Mansion, located at 17 S. Center St., in Joliet, but was brought under control after about 40 minutes.
Joliet police Sgt. Dwayne English initially said the call came in at 3:41 p.m.
English said the fire was on the roof. He was not at the location.
“As far as I know, they are still fighting the fire,” English said Wednesday afternoon.
English said the Joliet Police Department blocked off both Center and Marion streets.
The Joliet Fire Department responded to the fire at 3:45 p.m. and saw heavy smoke coming from the roof area, Joliet Fire Chief Jeff Carey said in a news release.
When truck crews vented the roof, they found heavy fire in the attic, Carey said.
Fire attack crews then entered the second floor to open the ceiling to attack the fire, Carey said. The fire was brought under control in 40 minutes, Carey said.
Firefighters from stations 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7 were at the scene continuing “to extinguish hot spots and perform salvage operations,” Carey said in the release.
Carey said no injuries were reported and the fire was under investigation.
Built in 1893, the castle-like Patrick Haley Mansion is a popular venue for weddings and other special events.
Jeffrey Bussean, who owns the building and business, said he and a crew of three or four employees were working inside when they noticed smoke and called the fire department.
The fire appeared to have started in the attic or somewhere on the third floor, he said. A bridal suite is located on the third floor, and no one was in that section of the building, Bussean said.
“People were working in the building, but not on the third floor,” Bussean said.
When outside the building, he did see flames coming out of the roof, Bussean said.
Bussean said he did not know how the fire started, and was waiting to find out more information from fire officials.
The roof was still intact as firefighters worked into the evening hours on the structure.
A number of third-floor windows were broken and the limestone exterior on that level was smoke-stained. One witness said at least some of the windows were broken by firefighters as they got the fire under control.
The first and second floors did not show damage, at least on the outside.
Kara Haller of Joliet rushed to the site after hearing about the fire at the mansion where her sister plans to be married later this year.
“There was a lot of smoke,” Haller said, describing what she saw upon arriving at about 4:30 p.m. “I did not see any flames.”
Mary Beth Gannon, a local historian and member of the Joliet Historic Preservation Commission, came to see how much damage was done.
“It breaks my heart,” Gannon said, noting the history of the building. “Mr. Haley was a mayor of Joliet at one time.”
Gannon noted the architect of the mansion was Frank Shaver Allen, who also designed Joliet Central High School. The Haley Mansion is landmarked by the city of Joliet.
“We’ve lost so many houses in Joliet,” Gannon said. “I hope this works out, and they can fix it.”
The Haley Mansion website, thehaleymansion.com, delves further into the history and construction of the mansion.
According to the website, it took two years to build, measures 8,600 square feet in size, and consumed an entire stone quarry in the course of construction.
Reporter Bob Okon contributed to this story.