The Guardian reports that a massive fire broke out at Universal Studios Hollywood Sunday morning at around 5 a.m. destroying Universal’s Back To The Future set as well as a video vault, portions of the King Kong attraction at Universal’s theme park and the old Court House Square set, a standard in movies and TV since the mid ’50s and currently in use by CBS’s Ghost Whisperer.
The L.A. Times reports that the blaze, with flames topping 90 feet and being fed by propane gas from ruptured canisters, burned until 10 a.m. and took more than 400 firefighters several hours to put out. Poor water pressure was a major issue for the firefighters as they battled the blaze with some firefighters saying they could only get ten feet of spay from the on-sight hydrants. At one point firefighters had to resort to pumping water from two man-made ponds, one of which was home to Universal’s animatronic Jaws attraction. The cause of the poor water pressure is under investigation.
Unnamed sources have said that the fire was likely started by studio workers who were using welding equipment to repair a New York street scape, which was also destroyed by the fire. The workers were using the tools at around 3 a.m. Sunday, roughly 90 minutes later the fire was detected. The workers were said to be veteran Universal employees, and appeared to have followed all fire prevention protocols.
L.A. County Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman said that investigators were still examining the cause and would not provide further details. “The investigation has ruled out any deliberate actions on the part of anyone,” said Freeman. When asked about a potential cause for the fire Cindy Gardner, a Universal spokeswoman, declined to comment saying only, “Anything now is speculative. We don’t have anything to disclose at this point.”
Nine firefighters and a sheriff’s deputy were reported injured during the fire.
None of the parks 30 sound-stages were damaged by the fire and 10 scheduled productions resumed filming today uninterrupted.