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Huge Fire Ravages the Universal Studios Backlot!

by
June 1, 2008
Source: KNBC.com

Fire Ravages the Universal Studios Backlot!

California always experiences an increased number of fires every year, but one has recently struck an important part of Hollywood. A fire broke out at Universal Studios early this morning during a film shoot and is currently still raging through the studio's backlot. The blaze was first reported at 4:45AM in a sound stage where it expanded rapidly, destroying one sound stage and several other buildings within 30 minutes. At 6:45AM, over 200 firefighters and 2 helicopters were called in to help fight the blaze in an effort to protect the film vault. Numerous buildings and park attractions have been either damaged or destroyed by the fire so far. As of this time of the morning, the fire is currently still being fought by firefighters and is still burning its way through the backlot.

According to reports, the fire quickly spread to the studio's famous New York City streetscape as well as the King Kong exhibit, which is expected to be a total loss. Besides numerous soundstages and buildings, apparently the Cyclone ride and three movie sets have been damaged as well. Thankfully no injuries have been reported, however this is incredibly tragic for Universal Studios, as much of their backlot has been entirely destroyed by the fire. Another report says that a third of the film vault was in flames, but we haven't heard any reports yet on whether any films were lost or not. Universal has a great number of films in their archive and it would be immensely tragic to have any of them lost!

We'll update you on any developments as they arrive, as the fire is still currently burning as of 8:30AM. You can see a live video feed of the fire over on KNBC.com. A similar fire destroyed part of Universal Studios back in 1990 and there have been five other previous big fires in the studio's history. We are not sure yet what films were shooting on the lot when the fire broke out, but we'll update you once we hear more. Stay tuned as this tragic story develops!

Update: Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge reports from the scene, saying "Firefighters are handing out the film cannisters. It's very sad. Ever since the movies came to Hollywood, there have been studio fires. And this is a big one." You can see a photo below of the damage from one of the live video streams. There is only one building still currently on fire, but you can see all the destroyed buildings in the upper right corner.

Universal Studios fireUniversal Studios fire

Update #2: An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 videos and reels in a video vault were destroyed in the fire, but duplicates were stored in a different location, so nothing essential was lost. Additionally, the iconic courthouse square from Back to the Future was entirely destroyed and the famous clock tower was damaged. New York and New England streets were also completely destroyed. The exhibit with the mechanical King Kong as part of the tram ride was also entirely destroyed. You can read more in this update on Yahoo.

Universal Studios fireUniversal Studios fire

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  • nha
    BAD NEWS!! - Lets hope they put it out soon!!
  • Sojourner
    Wow, hoping no one got hurt, and nothing gets set back too much.
  • Janet
    Thank goodness no one was hurt. It is a good thing that this happened so early in the morning and on a Sunday. At almost any other time you would think a lot more people could have been in danger. This article from yahoo states that a video vault was destroyed. I can't imagine. This is really shocking. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080601/ap_on_re_us/studio_fire
  • Dave Lister, JMC
    This is a shame. I've been there twice and enjoyed it quite a bit.
  • Rigo
  • Ivan
    I hope the injuries the firefighters sustained are not serious. Hundreds of memories are now just that, a memory. I'm a local who's been familiar with the studio for almost two decades, first as a kid and recently as an adult working on some commercials on the backlot. I feel like pure shit. I wonder how the crew who were shooting there this morning feel.
  • Janet
    How awful! They are reporting that a film vault was damaged as well...that could be really devestating.
  • Chris
    Hope no one was hurt.
  • http://www.lekkerleip.nl Rickmeister
    Thats terrible! What a waste! I feel so stupid not visiting it back in september when I was for the first time in LA.
  • http://movieguyreviews4u.blogspot.com Ryan
    Well no one is hurt and at least none of the films are lost since there are duplicates. Hopefully, it will be safely put out soon.
  • M.
    Crikey! Is this true? "California always experiences an increased number of fires every year?" Each year there are more fires than the year before? Do they have any plan to deal with this? How many years before the state burns to the ground?
  • Liz
    What a terrible disaster. Thank God no one was injured in the fire. It's so sad that the film vault was damaged and I pray that something can be salvaged from the fire. There must be such wonderful old movies in the vault, which are irreplaceable.
  • Solin
    Save the Clock Tower! Seriously, that building is a landmark in its own right now. It's what I wanted to see the most everytime I took the studio tour.
  • Jont
    i would have died for those films i can believe they are even prone to fire thats ricockulous

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