Film sets destroyed in Universal Studios fire (California)

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Film sets destroyed in Universal Studios fire (California)

Postby Mattie » Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:27 pm

The following is taken from

FIREFIGHTERS have battled a blaze at Hollywood's famed Universal Studios that ravaged some of the legendary film studio's most iconic stage sets and tourist attractions.

The raging fire at Universal City's backlot, which continued to smolder yesterday, destroyed various soundstages and a streetscape depicting New York City, causing tens of millions of dollars worth of damage.

Flames topped 30m, fed by propane gas from ruptured cannisters at the site of the fire.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation, officials said.

A column of thick black smoke rose from the fire at Universal City, some 15km north of Los Angeles, home of Universal Studios' amusement park as well as its working movie and television studios.

One popular attraction at Universal City, the King Kong exhibit, was completely destroyed.

Other reported casualties from the blaze were movie sets from classic films like Back to the Future, The War of the Worlds, Ben-Hur and Psycho.

The fire also consumed the set from the current hit television program Desperate Housewives.

A video vault containing tens of thousands of videos and reels was also totally destroyed, although Universal Studios CEO Ron Meyer said its main archive did not suffer irreversible losses.

"The video library was affected and damaged, but our main vault with the motions pictures negatives was not," Mr Meyer said.

"Nothing irreplaceable is lost."

"We were very lucky. It's a bad situation, but it could have been a lot worse."

Mr Meyer added that the theme park, which was shuttered early yesterday because of the blaze, had not been affected by the fire, and said officials planned to allow patrons to return over the course of the day.

Universal Studios, founded in 1915, is one of a half dozen major studios which dominate the US movie industry and serve as anchors for Hollywood film productions. The others are Fox, Warner, Sony, Disney and Paramount.

Three firefighters were injured battling the blaze, officials said, as several helicopters dropped water on it early yesterday.

Los Angeles County Fire Department chief Michael Freeman said that more than 400 firefighters were trying to extinguish the fire.

Officials were urging residents of nearby residential ares to evacuate, out of concern over potentially toxic fumes.

"As I walked out this morning ... it looked like a bomb exploded in the San Fernando Valley," Los Angeles councilman Tom LaBonge said yesterday, after surveying damage wrought by the massive fire.

Firefighters also were trying to keep the fire from spreading eastward to the bucolic Los Angeles retreat Griffith Park, where officials feared thick brush and vegetation could further feed the blaze.

The first reports of the blaze, which required helicopters and hundreds of firefighters to contain, came at 4.45 am local time.

"It began in the backlot area on New York street," Mr Freeman said.

"It moved through that area very fast."

County fire inspector Darryl Jacobs said firefighters ran out of water at least twice while fighting the fire, and low water pressure remained an ongoing problem hampering efforts to extinguish the blaze.

"There was an issue with water, but that has been rectified. They are shuttling water in," Mr Jacobs said.

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Postby tooheyzz » Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:30 pm

Bad news indeed
Great that nothing was lost that couldn't be replaced and no lost of life

But i would imagine some of the older set will not be rebuild unless the are required for new movies so thats a big loss

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