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Workers accidentally start Universal Studios fire

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The fire that erupted Sunday morning on the back lot of Universal Studios, Universal City, Calif., was accidentally set by Universal Studios workers.

The workers had been using a blowtorch to heat asphalt shingles to apply to the roof of a movie set building facade. They finished at 3 a.m. and left for a break at 4 a.m. after standing watch for one hour. A security guard reported the fire at 4:43 a.m.

The fire swept through a streetscape featuring New York brownstone facades, a King Kong attraction, a streetscape featured in "Spider-Man 2" and "Transformers" and the courthouse square from "Back to the Future." It also destroyed a building housing 40,000 to 50,000 videos; however, there reportedly are duplicates of all the videos.

The fire burned for more than 12 hours but was contained to the back lot. About 18,000 gallons of water per minute was used at peak times.

Universal Studios reopened Monday.


6/5/2008

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