Patrick Haley Mansion in Joliet damaged in large fire

ByCate Cauguiran and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, February 2, 2023
Haley Mansion in Joliet damaged in fire
The Patrick Haley Mansion in Joliet, Illinois, a popular wedding and banquet venue, was damaged by a large fire Wednesday.

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- Firefighters have put out a fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon at the Patrick C. Haley Mansion in southwest suburban Joliet.

Firefighters said they were called to the mansion just before 4 p.m. and found heavy flames in the attic and smoke billowing from the roof when they arrived. Joliet police shut down traffic in the 0-100 block of S. Center Street due to the fire, and residents were urged to avoid the area.

Joliet's fire chief said there was staffing working an event at the time, but no one was injured in the fire.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Firefighters and officials have also not yet commented on the extent of the damage.

The three-story, castle-like residence was built between 1891 and 1893. It now is used as private event facility known as The Haley Mansion.

"I don't know how to feel," said Lynn VanNasdale, who lives in Pittsburgh but got married at Haley Mansion just days ago. "It's such a beautiful piece of history and architecture. And we were also physically just present in that space with about 135 of our closes friends and family. It's like, thank God we're safe but also really disheartening that such a lovely piece of history could potentially be lost."

"I remember just on Saturday being there and walking around," said Peggy Gentleman, wedding photographer and director of photography and videography for Essence Weddings.

Gentleman said she and her team have a special bond with the venue that's brought joy to so many couples.

"It's unbelievable when you walk up those stairs to the third floor. It's covered in pictures of weddings that have happened there for decades," she said.

And she hopes the same joy can be restored once again.

"I just pray that this isn't too devastating to [the mansion's owners] and they can come back from this," she said.