Fires and Storms

A studio set is engulfed in fire as fire fighters work to extinguish the burning set in the early hours at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, Sunday June 1, 2008. A large fire tore through a back lot at Universal Studios early Sunday, destroying a set from "Back to the Future," the King Kong exhibit and thousands of videos and reels in a vault. (AP Photo/Mike Meadows) ORG XMIT: LA114

A studio set is engulfed in fire as fire fighters work to extinguish the burning set in the early hours at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, Sunday June 1, 2008. A large fire tore through a back lot at Universal Studios early Sunday, destroying a set from “Back to the Future,” the King Kong exhibit and thousands of videos and reels in a vault. (AP Photo/Mike Meadows) ORG XMIT: LA114

Fires

Universal has had more than it’s fair share of devastating fires on the backlot. Although the buildings look like solid brickwork, they are mostly timber framed structures with plastic, timber or plaster cladding to give them a realistic finish.
Although there are regular security patrols and there is now CCTV covering sections of the backlot, it’s a huge area and like any city, problems happen.
There have been eight major fires in the studios history – click on the dates below for more information.

1932 – 1949 – 1957 – 1967 – 1987 – 1990 – 1997 – 2008

There have also been a number of smaller fires;

  • ET Adventure fire (March 1991)
  • Backdraft Roof fire (September 24 1992)
  • Stage 12 Roof fire (October 31 1992)
  • Stage 32 fire (October 31 1995)
  • July 14 1997 – VIP Tram catches fire and ignites building at Six Points
  • On the 30 March 2007 a brush fire was started in the Hollywood Hills to the east of Universal City. Although no damage occurred, the fire got within 50 feet of the Toluca Hills residential complex to the east of USH. It was caused by two teens setting off fireworks in the dry brushwood. There had only been 2 inches of rain since July 2006, so it was a disaster waiting to happen. Luckily (due to speedy work by firefighters and helicopters) the fire was brought under control and no property was damaged.
    Photos and more information
  • January 23, 2013
    A workers welding torch sparked a fire in the former Terminator 2:3D show building as it was being remodelled into Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem.


Storms

As well as the Flash Flood, a whole host of real-life weather effects have been thrown at the Backlot.

Thursday February 1st, 1979
Tornado damages New York Street and Chinatown (Research by Dennis Dickens)

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