A fire broke out in the wall insulation of cavernous Stage 27 at Sony Studios in Culver City early on June 6. It took over an hour to extinguish the stubborn blaze.The fire was confined to insulation and soundproofing, and overall damage was slight. But its location halfway up the soundstage, which has walls from 50 to 80 feet high, made access difficult. The fire seemed to originate from wiring in a wall and then spread to the insulation material. It was discovered at 6 a.m. by guards opening the stage for the day, who observed smoke.The studio’s own firefighting unit arrived initially, but outside help was quickly summoned. Some 130 firefighters from multiple companies of the Culver City, Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County fire departments responded, according to Culver City fire investigator Mike McCormick.“We needed a lot of crews because the soundstage is equivalent to an eight-story building,” he said, adding “if the fire was to get going real good it wouldn’t have stopped at just one sound stage—so we threw everything we could at it.” The firefighters had to punch holes in the roof to ventilate it. They worked with thermal-imaging cameras to detect hot spots within the walls. The exact cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.The huge soundstage, where parts of Spiderman 3 had been shot, was not being used for filming and was not scheduled for use until midsummer, according to a Sony spokesperson, so no production will be displaced. However, repairs will have to be made and a go-ahead from a city building inspector will be required before Stage 27 can reopen.
Written by Jack Egan