Major fire at Universal Studios lot


A aerial view of Universal Studios lot on fire

A massive fire at the Universal Studios film and TV studio has today engulfed one soundstage and burned down a New York City street set.

A total of 300 firefighters from several Los Angeles-area fire departments are battling the blaze, said L.A. County Fire Inspector Frank Garrido.

He said the fire had been contained to a single structure, the "King Kong" exhibit, adding that the blaze had started in the backlot area depicting New York City, which was destroyed.

There are no reports of any injuries, although some propane tanks have exploded.

A building that holds a video vault of original and master versions of old movies had been destroyed and the vault itself had been "compromised."

Mr Garrido said the studio's theme park and popular City Walk shopping centre would be opened today, although tours to the backlot, where the fire occurred, had been cancelled.

A spokesman for Universal Studios, said damage was confined mostly to the backlot of the studio where movies and TV shows are shot and not to the adjoining theme park.

Universal has been the home of numerous movies over its long history in Hollywood, including horror films and modern-day blockbusters such as Jawsand Back to the Future.

Director Steven Spielberg houses his production company on the lot.