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Fire officials put Empress Casino damages at $340 mil
Associated Press
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Published: 3/28/2009 12:03 AM

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Fire officials in suburban Chicago say an early estimate of fire damages to the Empress Casino is $340 million.

The March 20 fire sparked by a construction worker spread quickly and burned for 12 hours but was contained to a pavilion area.

The main part of the casino in Joliet wasn't heavily damaged.

Fire Chief Joe Formhals calls the estimate rough, but says it's required as part of official reports. An Empress spokesman says insurance agents are still working on their own estimates.

The fire department estimate includes $290 million for reconstruction costs and $50 million for losses inside the building.

Empress officials haven't set a reopening date. Based on 2008 figures, the casino could be losing more than a half million dollars daily.