I did smell fire when I left home, about a mile away.It smelt like an electrical fire.
Also saw a couple of tv camera vans on the way here.
And here is a picture by Brian Smith which you can make out flames on top of the Ripsaw Falls tower.
His sources also told him that a vendor truck next to the ride caught fire. A tree spread the fire to the top of the ride.
Great news nobody hurt and the investigation results will be interesting. We don't need more data for the accident database.
My photo's on the Orlando Sentinel's slideshow - #12!
That said, I can't remember seeing a fire at an open theme park generate that amount of smoke before. I'm very interested in seeing exactly what material was burning there.
WESH-2 Aerial Raw Video taken after dark shows large hole caused by fire in roof of building indicating serious damage.
WFTV-9 No direct video of fire. Guests report sounded like an explosion. Smell of burning rubber. 1 reports of panic by a guest on camera. Several visitors complained of smoke inhalation and were treated at the site.
WOFL-35 Reports fire started on the roof. Firefighters found a smoldering fire that spread rapidly. Both Jurassic Park and Toon Lagoon closed (staff member on site as a regular guest).
WKMG-6 No Video coverage provided online. Similar print article to what has been provided by Orlando Sentinel. It does not look like the channel posts videos of stories...
Central Florida News 13Raw interview by a guest in queue for ride indicates the initial announcement was technical difficulties and that the staff conducting the evacuation was nervous [So would I]. When asked what was going on, they said that could not tell but referred to the black smoke in the sky.
Orlando Sentinel Has not yet updated their article tonight.
CommentsOverall that considering the conditions, the park handled the event very successfully with no significant injuries for a large 2 alarm fire involving 2 separate fire departments. The staff initiallly appears to have handled the event very successfully. Especially when considering this is coming out of the all time busiest week for IOA.
The park public relations team appeared to be responding well to the media and provided an appropriate level of information to media]
There are separate reports that the fire was started by a vehicle and spread to a tree then the structure or that the fire started on the roof. May just be individuals perspective as the first fire of the building was was on the roof.
Due to the hole in the roof, which was after dark and difficult to interpret, there is likely significant damage structurally and the interior. This is also indicated by other reports that the fire department had to fight the fire externally from a ladder truck initially. Ride is likely a total loss. Even if repairable at significant cost, the PR issues and the fact the ride needed some significant updating indicates probably better to tear it down. Premature to tell until good daytime video is available. Very premature.
All of the lights were off on the ride when I passed it at 9pm last night, including the lights on the bridge.They had flood lights on to assist guests with seeing as it was very dark.
There was still a strong smell of smoke.
There were maintenance staff under the bridge where the log drops, before coming back up again.
Maintenance were using flashlights.
The ride staff (Mounties) were placed all around the ride entrance, and on the bridge, to answer questions, as well as a manager and some security staff.
There were also plenty of news crews around the entrances to the resort for the live broadcasts at 10pm and 11pm.
Other than that, I really couldn't see too much.
Universal Studios spokesman Tom Schroder said the attraction would be closed for several weeks while workers repair the fire damage and perform additional seasonal maintenance.
I can't say I'm surprised, the last few years I've been very disappointed with USO outward appearance. The rides all need work from the very looks of them and that doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the maintenance of an attraction.
Because that's what it totally looked like. (I was able to snap a quick photo once I was back on the ground.) I remember a few people screaming, but I don't know if that's from Dueling DragonsDragon Challenge or what. Since, at the time, I thought Forbidden Journey had the problem, I probably misattributed the screaming.
Naturally, I was worried, so I started heading toward the park exit, and I noticed that park employees (does Universal say "cast member"? I don't know) were telling people, very loudly, not to stand on the bridges and just to get out of the way, basically. This was probably during the evacuation portion.
I didn't find out what actually happened until I was on the way home a couple of hours later. Pretty glad I chose not to ride Ripsaw that day - I'd considered it, then gone with Forbidden Journey (for a second and third time), instead.
I'm still coughing, actually. That smoke was AWFUL.