Fire Destroys Warehouse At Shuttered Joliet Prison

JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) — Joliet firefighters put out a blaze early Thursday at the shuttered Joliet Correctional Center, made famous for being used in the movie “Blues Brothers” and the TV show “Prison Break.”

Passersby spotted flames coming from a building at the facility around 3:10 a.m., and called 911, according to Joliet police.

The prison was built in 1858 and was shut down in 2002, and has no electric service. It has been the scene of break-ins in the past, and squatters have been known to have been inside before.

At first fire crews could not inside the prison walls to fight the fire, so they used water cannons to blast water over the walls, until someone from Stateville Correctional Center – about 5 miles away – was able to bring keys to get fire crews in through a sally port.

The fire was contained to a warehouse building, which was destroyed.

“The fire is definitely under control. It appears to have been confined to one building, which is a near-total loss; a warehouse building,” Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer said. “Some of the better-known portions of the prison – from movies and whatnot – appear to be unaffected. No other buildings in the complex appear to be affected.”

Shaer said the facility is sometimes used for training, but no one was on the property at the time the fire started.

No one was injured, and the cause of the fire was under investigation.

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