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Fire chars British set of new Bond movie

July 30, 2006

By KATIE FRETLAND
Associated Press

LONDON — A large fire seriously damaged the set of the latest James Bond movie Sunday, caving in the roof of a sound stage transformed into a replica of Venice for the production of "Casino Royale."

Sylvia Styring Hill / AP
Smoke billows from the 007 stage at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England, over local houses Sunday.

Pinewood Shepperton, the studio complex where the fire erupted, said filming for the Bond production had been completed.

"Its film sets were in the process of being removed," the studio said in a statement.

The cause of the fire was unknown. Three people who had been inside Pinewood Studios, about 20 miles west of London, were not hurt.

The Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said several cylinders of flammable gas exploded during the blaze, which took eight fire engines to extinguish.

Television footage showed a thick cloud of black smoke rising from the building, whose roof burned and at least partly collapsed.

"It is just a complete mess," fire department spokesman Fraser Pearson said from the scene. "I would say the whole building has been damaged by the fire. It is still smoking quite badly."

"Casino Royale" is the first Bond film featuring actor Daniel Craig in the title role, replacing Pierce Brosnan.

The 007 soundstage, which was built for the filming of Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me," burned down when gasoline canisters exploded in 1984. It was rebuilt two years ago.

In 2005, a Pinewood Shepperton studio soundstage served as a replica of the Louvre art museum for the "Da Vinci Code."

___

On the Net:

http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/casinoroyale/site

APNP 07-30-06 1236CDT

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