UPDATE: Universal Backlot & Buildings Continue to Burn
The Entrance to Universal is dominated by a massive plume of smoke and firefighters | AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
The fire that broke out early this morning continues to burn on the Universal Studios backlot in Universal City.
Per a press conference held near the scene just after nine this morning, the fire began between 4:30-4:45 this morning on a soundstage. No shooting was underway when the fire broke out, and rumors of bomb threats or otherwise are believed to be completely erroneous, but the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Currently over 400 firefighters are on scene from multiple units in LA County and City, and so far only three people have been injured (two with minor burns and one with heat exhaustion). Despite all their efforts, they estimate the fire will burn for at least another hour while they work to contain it. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky called it a "complicated fire"--one made more difficult perhaps by trouble with adequate water pressure to douse the flames.
As of right now, the major damage includes the destruction of New York Street, and the total loss of Courthouse Square and the inside of the King Kong attraction. Right now the fire is engulfing a video vault, which contains video archives encased in plastic--it is the plastic that is creating the thick, black smoke.
City Councilman Tom LaBonge added during the press conference that when he woke up this morning in his Silver Lake home and saw the smoke that it "looked like a bomb had exploded in the San Fernando Valley." In fact, not only did it look treacherous, but many in the area reported hearing the loud booms of explosions.