Angelenos are certainly accustomed to seeing swirling vortexes of doom forming over some of our favorite local landmarks—everywhere from the CAA Death Star to the WeHo Pinkberry dispensary—but the towering pillar of smoke that formed over Universal Studios early Sunday morning proved especially ominous—particularly after reports circulated that it wasn't so much the result of God pointing a bony finger of disapproval towards the immoral business practices unfolding within, but rather a massive fire engulfing some of our most cherished childhood memories. (The Mice Age blog catalogs the casualties. R.I.P., special-needs King Kong! *Sniff*) One of the greatest challenges firefighters faced was a lack of adequate water pressure (it's not as if Jim Carrey hadn't warned them after each and every thoroughly unsatisfying shower in his double-wide), a logistical challenge that required some extremely creative problem solving. From the LAT:
Firefighters resorted to pumping water from two man-made studio ponds, including one that is home to the animatronic "Jaws" attraction. They also snaked hundreds of yards of hoses to street hydrants outside the park.
Nine firefighters and a sheriff's deputy were injured in the blaze, which was punctuated with 100-foot flames, early-morning explosions and then a second afternoon explosion as it consumed a cavernous video warehouse. [...]
The flames churned through the open-air wood and plastic construction and to the adjacent sets, incinerating the 30-foot animatronic King Kong and damaging Courthouse Square, which played a prominent role in "Back to the Future," "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Inherit the Wind."
We are apparently still two or three days away from determining what caused the blaze, but for studio visitors who heroically stood at the park entrance yesterday bitching to local news crews that their whole day was ruined because the public-safety-happy powers-that-be wouldn't let them see the Psycho house, some good news: The tour will operate again today, rerouted away from the damage and towards alternative backlot attractions such as Desperate Housewives' Wisteria Lanes, where they can snap photos of a sobbing Eva Longoria thanking our city's heroic firefighters the only way she knows how—by offering them slices of Domino's pizza.
[Photo credit: LAT]