Massive Fire Ravages Parts of Universal Studios

A fire breaks out at Universal Studios

Firefighters battle a blaze at Universal Studios on Sunday, June 1, 2008 in Universal City, Calif. The blaze broke out just before dawn on a sound stage, according to officials. AP Photo/APTN hide caption

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A massive fire at the Universal Studios on Sunday morning ravaged a film archive that contained more than 40,000 videos and reels.

No one was injured. The fire also destroyed a set from the movie Back to the Future and a King Kong exhibit.

But, the damaged videos and reels were not lost forever; all of them had duplicates stored in a different location, NBC Universal President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Meyer says. The videos included every film that Universal has produced and footage from television series' like Miami Vice and I Love Lucy. Firefighters recovered hundreds of those titles from the vault, Freeman says.

The iconic courthouse square from Back to the Future, was also destroyed, Freeman says, and the famous clock tower that enabled star Michael J. Fox's character to time travel was damaged. The King Kong exhibit is a stop on the studio's tram tour where the giant ape bellows at passengers and artificial banana scent fills the area, studio spokesman Eliot Sekuler says.

The blaze broke out at 4:30 a.m. on a sound stage, in a set featuring facades of New York brownstones, says Los Angeles County Fire Chief Michael Freeman. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Universal Studios spokesman Elliot Sekuler says the theme park will open Sunday, though the studio tour will be affected by the blaze. The fire also will not affect the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, which is to broadcast live Sunday night from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, according to the music network.

Located nine miles north of downtown Los Angeles, Universal Studios has thrill rides and a back lot where movies and television shows are filmed.

Some of the more familiar attractions on the back lot are the clock tower from the Back To The Future movies and the house featured in Psycho.

From NPR staff reports and the Associated Press

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