Fire destroys buildings at Universal Studios in L.A.

Sun Jun 1, 2008 6:30pm EDT
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By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A huge fire burned for nearly 10 hours at the Universal Studios film and TV studio on Sunday, damaging a sound stage, movie sets, a popular "King Kong" attraction and shutting down its theme park and CityWalk shopping center for the day.

About 500 firefighters from several Los Angeles-area fire departments battled the blaze, and six were treated for injuries. A deputy sheriff was also treated after he and a firefighter were hurt in an explosion in a burning warehouse, L.A. County Fire Inspector Ron Haralson said.

Haralson said the fire had been contained to a single structure -- the "King Kong" exhibit -- and that firefighters had brought in bulldozers to move thousands of burning videotapes and other flaming debris. Firefighters earlier predicted the blaze would be "knocked down" within hours.

A total of five structures within the New York exhibit, including one sound stage, were lost in the fire.

Also damaged was the "King Kong" attraction, a famous alley from "The Sting" and a set from "Back to the Future."

Sunday's taping of the popular MTV Movie Awards at the adjacent Gibson Amphitheater, which was not affected, was set to go ahead as planned.

Company officials had earlier said the studio's theme park and popular CityWalk shopping center would open at noon, but changed courses by around 2:45 p.m. (5:00 p.m. EDT), saying that neither the theme park or CityWalk would open.

Cars had earlier been let in, and a Reuters journalist saw people lined up outside a restaurant on CityWalk.   Continued...

<p>Firefighters work amongst the debris after a fire raged out of control at the backlot filled with movie sets at Universal Studios in Universal City, Los Angeles, June 1, 2008. REUTERS/Andrew Gombert/Pool</p>