Fire destroys Kong attraction at USH*
A fire is burning on the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood
, destroying sets on the New York and New England streets. More than 300 firefighters have contained the fire from spreading into surrounding brush, but the first continued to burn within the studio complex Sunday morning.
There are no reported injuries. Three
Several firefighters have been treated for minor injuries.
A Universal spokesperson said that the theme park was to open Sunday, though the backlot Studio Tour would be affected. [Universal didn't open as originally announced, according to some messages I've received. - Robert]
Here's a photo gallery from the LA Times.
*Update: The fire destroyed the King Kong building within the Studio Tour, as well as the Back to the Future town square. The fire started in or near a soundstage near the New York brownstones. - Robert
Update 2: Old-timers will remember that the backlot has burned before. In the early 1990s, a security guard was imprisoned for arson after starting a fire that burned some the same locations that burned today. Locals, post your news in the comments. - Robert
Update 3: I talked with Debbie Park, a Universal spokesperson. She said that the Universal is planning to open the park at 10 am tomorrow (Monday), when all attractions - including the Studio Tour - will be open.
Park said that it is too early to tell all that has been damaged or completely destroyed by the fire. But, she said, from what they have been told from firefighters and others on the scene, Kong was destroyed.
Tomorrow, Universal officials will re-group, assess the damage and start the process of deciding what to do from here, and Universal will issue another statement once that process has begun, Park said. - Robert
This is terrible. Glad nobody was seriously hurt, but what a blow to Uni. How did the fire start?
The smell all morning in our neighborhood has been awful. It's nothing like the smoke from the regular California wildfires - it really smells toxic. We're keeping our kids indoors just to be safe.
Wow. This horrible news. I hope the firefighters are alright. I am also sad to here about Kong and the BTTF square. I really enjoyed seeing these parts of the tour when I was there last year.
Oh man! That was such a bad blow to USH. I guess history does repeat itself. At least none of the park guests were injured or harmed in anyway. Was the park closed because of this?
Park said that the fire officials requested that USH keep the park closed today, as not to have guest and park operations interfere with firefighters' access to the fire and burn areas.
I am amazed that they will even open tomorrow.
I wonder if they will rebuild King Kong again like last time, or might they put in something new??
For those not familiar with Universal Studios Hollywood, the park has a unique layout. It's built on the side of a mountain, with the parking garages, CityWalk and the bulk of the theme park at the top. There is a long series of escalators that lead to a lower lot, and the back lot is located below that, mostly near or on the valley floor.
Wow this is bad. Thankfully no park guest or fireman got seriously hurt. I grew up with this Kong attraction. My earliest memory of Universal studios is watching King Kong eye to eye and the whole helicopter crash and of course the banana breath. Hopefully Universal can recover quickly and find a way to rebuild Kong or maybe update him to look like the 2005 film version of himself. This has got to be the worst time to be a Back to the Future fan. We are still heartbroken because of the ride removal and now the courthouse seems to have suffered damage.
Its good the hear that the damage could have been worst. I also heard that the vaults were in danger. I think Kong will be rebuilt.
It looks like the outdoor set with the stairway doorsteps is gone... as can be seen in Bruce Almighty *cues clip*. ...It's also in a current car commercial right now. I wish my USH pass didn't expire in early May. I'd like to go on the Studio Tour and see if they discuss the fire at all, maybe even drive through it.
Monday morning statement from Universal:
I can't believe King Kong was destroyed. thats really sad:(
What a shame...Makes me wish I had scheduled a trip to USH sooner. Now I'll never see BTTF Square...
For those wishing they had seen BTTF town square, you haven't been able to see it since CBS started airing "Ghost Whisperer". They changed the whole look of the town square, putting in some sort of gazebo structure in the center and removing the clock tower. SAVE THE CLOCK TOWER!
I went to USH with my family last June and I was disappointed with how the tram tour operated, of course I'm from the old school when the tour and some shows were the only thing you did there and I was really little, but it made a big impression on me at that time.
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