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Safety Concern Delays Probe of Fire on Film Set

September 06, 1987

The arson investigation into a fire that erupted at a back lot at Universal Studios in Universal City on Friday night has been put on hold until Tuesday because one of the destroyed buildings is too dangerous to enter.

"It's a safety problem," Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Moya said. "We don't want to get our investigators in there and have the roof and walls come down on us."

Investigators are attempting to determine whether a bomb threat received by the studio shortly before the fire started about 7:40 p.m. is linked to the blaze.

"We certainly are going to look into that to see if it could be tied in to the original incident," Moya said.

The fire destroyed four buildings and damaged four others in the studio's Old European Village section and its "Spartacus" set. Fire officials estimated the damage at $2.5 million, but a studio executive suggested it was much higher.

The fire did not affect business at the huge Universal complex, which includes an 18-screen film center, numerous restaurants and the Universal Amphitheater. A studio official said the fire damage probably would not delay the film shooting scheduling.

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