Early reports are calling the fire that gutted three acres of Universal Hollywood's back lot an accident. However, it is unclear what caused the June 1 fire and whether the studios antiquated sprinkler system hampered the firefighters' efforts to save its famous tour relics, including its gargantuan “King Kong,” and sections of the sets of “Back to the Future” and “Bruce Almighty.”
Firefighters also fought valiantly to save video footage that was later determined to be copies of original videos of films dating to the 1920's.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has ordered an investigation into whether the lack of water power allowed the blaze to run out of control. Los Angeles County Fire Department officials insisted the “water pressure on the grounds was adequate.”
The fire, which started at 4:45 a.m., burned two city blocks.
Flames shot more than 100 feet into the air.
Six buildings were destroyed and there was massive damage to the studio's video vault.
450 firefighters were on the scene, including firefighters from Los Angeles County and Burbank. Two Los Angeles City Fire Department helicopters were used to combat the blaze.
The blaze started in the “New York City Street” lot, which was often used to film exterior shots of Seinfeld.
The fire burned for more than 12 hours. It was finally extinguished at 10 p.m.
At times, firefighters were using 18,000 gallons of water a minute to douse the flames.
Fire officials say their efforts were also hampered by Universal's metallic roofs. The hot roofs made it impossible for firefighters to climb up on and battle the blaze on neighboring structures.
The park reopened at 10 a.m. this morning, June 2.
Nine firefighters and one sheriff's deputy suffered minor injuries. No fatalities.
Damage is estimated in the millions.