The massive fire that gutted Universal Studios near Hollywood last weekend was started by accident, investigators have confirmed.

Los Angeles County supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told reporters on Monday: "The fire was an accident, it was not intentional, it was not arson."

"Two workers and a supervisor were applying asphalt shingles to the roof on the building façade. They were using a blowtorch to heat the shingles," added LA fire department chief Michael Freeman.

"They followed company Protocol and policies to stand watch for one hour. Seeing no indication of fire, they took a break at 04:00 BST".

The fire was first noticed 45 minutes later by a security guard.

The blaze then swept through the world famous studio's sets and tourists attractions.

Nine firefighters and a police officer were injured as they tackled the huge fire which completely destroyed the King Kong exhibit.

The theme park, however, opened for business again yesterday with studio head Ron Meyer claiming "nothing precious was lost".

03/06/2008 09:32:54