Disney fire damages ‘Pirates’ soundstage

Blaze should not affect production schedule

A fire broke out on the Walt Disney Co.’s studio lot Tuesday, causing $350,000 in damage to a soundstage where a set was under construction for Disney’s upcoming film “Pirates of the Caribbean,” authorities said.

Disney’s studio operations are still assessing the damage, according to Disney, which is not releasing any official numbers on the damage.

No one was injured in the blaze that broke out shortly after 9:30 a.m. on Soundstage 2 at Disney headquarters in Burbank, said Burbank fire Capt. Ron Bell. He said the two-alarm blaze was put out in about 45 minutes.

“They were making foam sets of some type,” Bell said. “The cause is under investigation, but it’s going to lay somewhere in the building or carving of the sets.”

While no one was hurt, the presence of foam at the scene — which had the potential to give off cyanide when burning — prompted evacuation of nearby buildings until the smoke dissipated, Bell said. However, Disney reps confirmed minimum disruption occurred on the lot to other soundstages and buildings thanks to the blaze being contained quickly and effectively.

A hazardous materials team was also called to the scene, Bell added.

Bell said damages were estimated at $50,000 to the building and $300,000 to its contents, including water damage.

No other buildings on the studio lot were affected, including the other seven soundstages on the Disney lot, said Disney spokeswoman Michelle Bergman.

Bergman said it is still too soon to say if shooting for “Pirates” — a film based on the popular attraction at Disney’s theme parks that is in pre-production — will be able to proceed on schedule, or if it may have to be moved elsewhere.

She added Disney does not anticipate the accident will affect the movie’s release date, which is scheduled for summer 2003, nor its production timetable, though Disney officials will be assessing if alternate plans need to be made over the next couple of days.

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