02 January 2011 by 13 News - By Mark Jenkins, Reporter
A popular ride at Islands of Adventures at Universal remains shut down Sunday after a huge fire caused an evacuation and a major scare for park goers.
According to officials, the fire broke out at Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls, which is a log flume ride.
The park said a roof on the ride caught fire, sending flames and thick black smoke into the sky.
Guests and employees were evacuated from the park at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
The park said a few guests were checked out in a park first aid room, but none had to go to the hospital.
Saturday was the one of the busiest days for the park. Hundreds of people were in line and saw the fire.
"I was waiting at a ride and somebody said it was technical difficulties. They would let us know what would happen and then we saw this huge pillar of black smoke in the sky. They evacuated us from the ride and people were a little nervous. We were asking what was going on and they said they couldn't tell us but that we would see ahead," said park guest Claudia Mejia.
Toon Lagoon Island was also reportedly evacuated as well.
Some riders did complain of breathing in smoke.
Orange County and Orlando fire crews responded to the 2-alarm fire.
Thick, black smoke could be seen in the area at the time of the fire,
Firefighters are now trying to figure out what sparked the fire.They are considering a possible electrical issue with an air conditioner or ride controller.
The water ride will be shut down at least through Sunday. Some guests may get reimbursed, according to park officials.
Ripsaw Falls opened in 1999 and is one of the park's original attractions.
The fire couldn't have come at a worse time for Universal, specifically Islands of Adventure, which has been seeing a huge spike in attendance.
For the first time ever, the park had to turn guests away this past week after reaching capacity.
Much of the spike in attendance is being attributed to the new Harry Potter attraction which opened last year.
Universal had said attendance was up nearly 40 percent between July and October.
This isn't the first fire to cause trouble at a Universal theme park.
Part of the backlot at Universal in California went up in flames in 2008.
That fire was blamed on a worker using a torch for welding.
It took over 500 firefighters to put out that fire, which burned for 12 hours. GO BACK