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industry news

Fire breaks out on Warner Bros. backlot set in Vancouver

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Sunday, August 28, 2011

This afternoon a fire broke out on the standing sets used by several Warner Bros. productions including the TV series Supernatural and the Watchmen movie.

Eyewitness reports state that the fire occured when welders working on a small Bollywood film production accidentally sparked an explosion while they were cutting scrap metal inside a warehouse building. The workers tore into a gas line, causing flames to escape and spread rapidly inside the structure.

Firefighters were called to the exterior sets around 2:30 PM. Several firetrucks responded and began putting out the blaze.

Located near a busy road in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, the set location has been called the "backlot" by Vancouver film professionals. It was originally built as part of the 2007 production of Watchmen by Warner Bros. After filming on the movie was over, the studio decided to make an investment in having standing exterior sets that looked like the city streets of eastern U.S. cities. Exterior façades of buildings that resemble New York brownstones make up one street side of the backlot. Since being built for the Watchmen movie, several TV productions and movies have used the backlot for their productions including the WB owned Supernatural show.

Several pictures of the smoke billowing from the fire can be seen on this blog. According to the blog writer (who got their information from Supernatural's location manager), it seems the fire was contained to concrete buildings only and did not spread to the wooden exterior sets.

My .02 cents: I've been on this lot several times. Judging from the direction that those water cannons are spraying, I'd say that the fire was next door to the brownstone exterior street set, in the covered warehouse building used when productions need to construct interior sets. It sound like the fire didn't spread any further than the inside of this warehouse.

Currently, there's been no official report on the extent of the damages or if this will put a crimp in the shooting schedules of the productions lined up to use the backlot.

-Many a Vanished Scene blog.

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