Sunday, June 1, 2008
Not a happy news today, but the theme park part of Universal City in Los Angeles was, thanks god, not the part on fire, "only" a Studio Lot. However some of the flames reach the height of 30 meters ( 90 feet ) which, i must say, is quite high...
After the picture below, the Variety article about it.
Fire rages at Universal Studios
More than 200 firefighters battling blaze
By TIMOTHY M. GRAY, DANA HARRIS / Variety
A fire broke out at the Universal Studios backlot before dawn this morning, spreading to encompass more than two city blocks.
While the fire has been nearly contained, the studio's video vault was damaged and still burning as of 9:30 am PST. A Los Angeles Fire Dept. spokesman said he expected that the blaze would require another hour's work before it could be exinguished.
The studio's film vault, which is lined in concrete and lead and contains irreplaceable film negatives, was not affected.
The fire destroyed many sets, especially those in the lot's New York section, as well as the King Kong amusement that is featured on Universal Studios' backlot tram tour.
More than 200 firefighters were called to the scene. Three firefighters have been sent to the hospital with what was described as minor injuries, including heat exhaustion.
"They are our real heroes," said Universal Studios president and chief operating officer Ron Meyer at a Sunday morning press conference. "I can't thank them enough."
Meyer dismissed reporters' inquiries about the possibility that a bomb threat had been called in shortly befor the fire began. "None of us have heard this," he said.
The fire began on the lot's New York soundstage and quickly spread. Universal Tours spokesman Eliot Sekular said the theme park's opening will be delayed until noon today, with the tour resuming Monday. He said the hotels, restaurants, theaters and other venues at the theme park and its adjoining CityWalk were not affected, and the MTV Awards will be held as scheduled.
However, Meyer confirmed that the fire damaged two sets for the CBS drama "The Ghost Whisperer" and "completely destroyed" a set that most recently housed "The Changeling," a Warner Bros. Pictures feature directed by Clint Eastwood that had it premiere at tlast month's Cannnes Film Festival.
Meyer also confirmed that a commercial had been shooting this weekend on the lot's New York street.
According to fire department spokesman, the fire fighting may have beein initially compromised by problems with insufficient water pressure. He praised the fire fighters' "innovative and creative" solutions, which included drawing water from the backlots' ponds and lakes. The fire consumed 18,000 gallons of water per minute.
Universal's New York street was destroyed by fire once before, in 1990. The set was rebuilt with reengineered facades that were meant to offer fire retardation and protection, but a fire department spokesman said that today's blaze overwhelmed those safety measures.
Text: copyright Variety