Universal Lot on Fire

June 1, 2008–A huge fire raged on a back lot at Universal Studios early Sunday, destroying several movie sets, including mock New York and New England streets. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Daryl Jacobs said at least one building had burned and three blocks of movie facades were destroyed. Though the fire was contained, it was still raging, Jacobs said.

The blaze broke out just before dawn on a sound stage, fire Capt. Frank Reynoso said. A thick column of smoke rose thousands of feet into the air. Firefighting helicopters swept in to drop water, and more than 100 firefighters were trying to prevent the flames from spreading to nearby brush, Reynoso said.

Universal Studios spokesman Elliot Sekuler said the theme park would open Sunday, though the studio tour would be affected by the blaze. He said filming was going on when it broke out, but offered few details about the fire.

Universal is located nine miles north of downtown Los Angeles that has thrill rides and a back lot where movies and television shows are shot.