Universal Studios fire was an accident, say fire officials

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Washington, June 3 : The fire that broke out in the Universal Studios backlot has been declared as an accident, according to Los Angeles fire officials.

They said that the fire was set off by workers, who were making repairs to one of the sets in the studio.

"The investigation has ruled out any deliberate actions on the part of anyone," E!Online quoted L.A. County Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman, as saying in a news conference.

He said that the incident occurred when two workers and a supervisor were using a blowtorch to apply asphalt shingles to the roof of a building on the New York/New Jersey street set. After finishing their work, the men waited for about an hour as per rules, and when they did not see signs of fire, they finally went out for their break at 4 a.m.

"At 4:43, a security guard in the vicinity of the backlot...noticed the fire and immediately notified the fire department. At approximately the same time, the workers returned to the location and also witnessed the fire and confirmed with the security guard that the fire department had been notified," said Freeman.

The fire injured 9 firefighters and a sheriff's deputy and destroyed most of the New York City street, sets used in films such as Back to the Future, Bruce Almighty and To Kill a Mockingbird. It also set to flame a warehouse containing more than 40,000 videos (all of which exist in copies elsewhere, officials said) and the King Kong portion of the Universal Studios tram ride.

In fact, according to reports the rapid spread of the fire might also be due to taxed water-pressure system at the site.

"Obviously it was not effective at preventing the spread of the fire," said Freeman.

Zev Yaroslavsky, L.A. County Supervisor, claimed that they have established an interdepartmental assessment team for investigation.

"Was there an infrastructure, mechanical or human error problem, or a combination, or none of the above? It has a lot of implications for this fire and other fires," said Yaroslavsky.

In the mean time, the fire did not stop the 2008 MTV Movie Awards and red carpet festivities, which went on with much fervour at the nearby Gibson Amphitheatre. In fact, Universal Studios and the adjacent CityWalk entertainment district have been reopened today.

ANI

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