Couples face uncertainty after Haley Mansion fire in Joliet leaves wedding venue damaged

ByMaher Kawash WLS logo
Friday, February 3, 2023
Couples face uncertainty after fire leaves wedding venue damaged
The Haley Mansion in Joliet, Illinois, a popular wedding and banquet venue, was damaged by a large fire Wednesday.

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- A historic mansion in Joliet often used for events, including weddings, was badly damaged in a fire Wednesday afternoon.

While fire officials say the building will eventually be restored, it might not happen soon enough for couples who planned to get married there just weeks from now.

The Patrick Haley Mansion is a popular venue for weddings, with dozens planned over the next several months. Those couples are now anxiously hoping this building will soon be restored.

Mike Doolin and his fiancée Katie Edgeworth took their first look at the Haley Mansion in Joliet since it caught fire Wednesday afternoon - an agonizing turn of events just 37 days out from their wedding.

They went from planning seating arrangements to wondering if the wedding can even happen here on March 11.

"We were devastated yesterday," Edgeworth said. "Kind of at a loss for words."

Doolin and Edgeworth said this was the only venue they visited, calling it a perfect fit as soon as they walked in.

"It's a beautiful place, it still is," Doolin said. "Hopefully they get it up and running really soon. Just glad no one was hurt and no significant damage to the building."

It's a predicament countless couples are now facing with this popular wedding venue. The good news is the fire was contained to the upper level. Fire officials said the building is salvageable and can likely be restored.

But it's now a race against time for this couple, as well as Hashim Tillawi and his fiancée Tess.

"It's like a terrible nightmare, totally unforeseen," Tillawi said. "You wake up to the news and you're hoping and praying that it's a really bad dream."

The couple is set to get married here at the end of July. They're relieved that the fire didn't expand across the entire building, giving them hope that they can live out their big day in this mansion.

"For us that is a huge relief, but now the question remains: is time working against us?" Tillawi said.

The cleanup and restoration process has already begun, but the cause of the fire still isn't clear. Fire officials have ruled it an accident.

One of the Haley Mansion's owners told ABC7 that they are bringing in architects to discuss how to rebuild. She added that they have contacted people that have events booked at the venue and should know more about the severity of the damage in a few days.

The Haley Mansion posted the following statement on their Facebook page: "Yesterday afternoon Haley Mansion caught fire. We are grateful no one was hurt. We do not know the extent of the damage and will be working today to assess the severity of this situation. For safety reasons, the power has been cut to the building so we currently have no phone system in place. We will be updating everyone as soon as possible. We have every intention of restoring this beautiful historic mansion. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time."