Universal Studio reopens as fire probe starts

Other News Materials 3 June 2008 00:23 (UTC +04:00)

Firefighters Monday doused the last remaining hot spots of a fire that ravaged the Universal Studios backlot Sunday, as the adjacent theme park reopened and investigators launched an inquiry into the blaze.

Initial reports said that a lack of water pressure hampered efforts to keep the fire under control and that a sprinkler system installed after a 1990 conflagration failed to douse the initial fire before it got out of hand.

The fast-moving fire tore through world-famous movie studio Sunday, destroying a popular King Kong tourist attraction and burning the sets for such blockbuster movies as Back to the Future and Bruce Almighty, the dpa reported

None of the studio's 30 sound stages were damaged and the 10 productions currently filming there proceeded as normal Monday. The 1,600-hectare property features a theme park and one of the largest working film and TV studios in the world.

Up to 400 firefighters, with more than 20 ladder trucks and 40 engines, fought the blaze Sunday. But they were hampered by weak water pressure which limted their reach with the spray to as little as 3 meters at times, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"The water came out of hoses anemically," Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told the paper. "The water-pressure issue is going to be the postmortem issue of this fire."

The fire didn't deter tourists from the popular attraction when it reopened Monday morning after being closed Sunday. Hundreds of people streamed into the park as tourists looked to the fire damage to provide another attraction.

"We want to see what burned down," said Steven Razo, 15. Guides on the tram tours of the park mentioned the fire and thanked the firefighters for their work.