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Official: Workers accidentally set Universal Studios blaze

  • Story Highlights
  • Workers using heating tools started Sunday's fire, an official told CNN
  • The blaze destroyed movie sets and a King Kong exhibit
  • 10 firefighters were injured
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Workers using blowtorches accidentally started a weekend fire at Universal Studios, Los Angeles County spokeswoman Judy Hammond told CNN Monday.


The fire burns buildings and movie sets at Universal Studios on Sunday.

The fast-moving, early morning blaze destroyed several movie sets and the King Kong exhibit. It also damaged a video vault but copies of reels and videos are kept at another location, said Ron Meyer, chief operating officer of Universal Studios.

"Fortunately, nothing irreplaceable was lost," he said. "The video library was affected and damaged, but our main vault of our motion picture negatives was not."

While firefighters were battling the blaze Sunday, a pressurized cylinder exploded at Universal Studios on Sunday, injuring two firefighters, officials said. Eight other firefighters were injured during much of Sunday as they fought back enormous flames.

Universal Studios officials resumed normal business hours Monday, including the studio tour.

The fire destroyed an area called New York street, which includes movie set-style buildings designed to look like the cityscape of New York City.

Hours after the blaze was reported, the roughly two-block area appeared charred and resembled a "disaster movie," said Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge.

LaBonge said he could see the smoke from his Silver Lake home Sunday morning. "It looked like a bomb had exploded," he said.

The fire began around 4:45 a.m. and was contained initially by 9 a.m. Throughout the morning, large plumes of black smoke rose as the fire burned the vault containing hundreds of videos, said Meyer.

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The set of "The Changeling," a film recently directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie, was "completely destroyed," Meyer said.

Another area called "Courthouse Square" also was destroyed, he said. Numerous movies have been shot in that area, including several scenes of the 1985 hit "Back to the Future."

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