From: Ron Meyer (NBC Universal)
Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2008 2:57 PM
To: NBC Universal Employee Communications (NBC Universal)
Subject: Universal Studios Backlot Fire UpdateDear Co-Worker,
It has already been a few weeks since our June 1 fire that turned into an event of global interest. Many witnessed the fire first-hand, but if you didn’t, there was no shortage of information on TV, in newspapers and online. As with most big stories, there are rumors, speculation and misinformation. I’m sure a number of you have questions, and I’d like to try and clear up any confusion.
This fire was an unfortunate accident caused by some routine roofing work being performed on a back lot facade on New York Street. The fire burned most of New York Street, the King Kong attraction, our video vault and some of Courthouse Square. Due to the quick response and hard work of the firefighters, and to the fact that Station 51 is located right on our back lot, the fire was contained to less than 1% of our property.
Although our video vault was destroyed, losing thousands of tapes and hundreds of duplicate film prints that we are now in the process of recreating, the vault in which we store our library of films was untouched. The teams are still assessing what was lost and what may have been salvaged, but we do know there will be minimal long-term impact on what we do, as our company has taken film preservation very seriously and adhered to a policy of geographically separating elements that ensure our film and video legacy can continue.
The press has repeatedly reported that Universal’s water system was inadequate. This was not the case. In fact, at a recent press conference organized by the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Chief Michael Freeman stated unequivocally that Universal had sufficient water capacity to handle the fire. We are working in partnership with LA County Fire, as we have always done, and the Department of Building and Safety, to rebuild and to continue to put fire safety at the forefront of everything we do here on our lot. The safety of our employees, guests and clients is, and always will be, our first priority.
We are focused on bringing back our historic back lot tour, developing a replacement for King Kong and rebuilding New York Street. I will keep you posted as we progress. Lastly, I want to recognize Jim Watters and the entire operations team for the intense dedication they have shown over the last couple weeks.