Illinois Casino’s Sprinklers Were Off When Fire Destroyed Building

March 26, 2009

The city building inspector of suburban Joliet says the sprinkler system of the Empress Casino’s pavilion was disconnected when a fire destroyed the building.

David Mackley said the sprinklers had been shut off just before Friday’s blaze because work was being done on them.

Mackley says the fire doors also weren’t working. He says it isn’t unusual for both items to be temporarily out of commission when a building is undergoing a renovation like the $50 million project at the Empress.

The casino wasn’t heavily damaged, and the fire sparked by a construction worker was contained to the pavilion area.

Mackley says workers had a fire watch in place and fire extinguishers, but the fire spread too quickly.

The blazed burned for about 12 hours.

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