- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2009

JOLIET, ILL. (AP) - A fire at the Empress Casino in northern Illinois has produced waves of black smoke and forced the evacuation of everyone inside.

Police Lt. Stephen Breen says there are no reports of any injuries. He says the fire started in a kitchen area that was under renovation and hasn’t spread.

Penn National Gaming owns the casino in Joliet, and spokesman Eric Schippers says it was undergoing a $50 million renovation.

Breen says all casino guests and workers were evacuated as a precaution and the nearby parking garage was cleared.

Breen says welders apparently started the Friday morning blaze. He says a spark might have hit some grease around the ceiling area, but that it’s too soon to say exactly what happened.



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