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Controlled fire levels dorm as part of Balsams renovation

DIXVILLE NOTCH - Flames shot high into the early morning sky above Dixville Notch on Sunday and consumed a building that had long been a part of The Balsams Grand Resort and Hotel.

The deliberate, controlled burn was a major aspect of the demolition work aimed at clearing the way for a multi-million dollar renovation of the Civil War-era resort.

Fire crews from Colebrook and Pittsburg in New Hampshire, and Beecher Falls, Vt., were on the scene shortly after daybreak Sunday, primarily to ensure that flames didn't spread to the adjacent main hotel building.

Originally an inn on the historic 7,700-acre New Hampshire property, the vacant building also served later as a dormitory for the resort's employees, some 300 of whom worked the summer and winter seasons at The Balsams, including at its ski area and two golf courses.

The resort has been closed in recent years while Balsams View, a company founded by two businessmen with ties to the Colebrook area, attempt to put together the financing for the large project that could reach around $30 million.

The two say their goal is to return The Balsams to its former glory, reopen it as a resort, and have the site resume its longtime role as the area's largest provider of jobs.

Following a large auction last May that saw buyers carry off some 3,000 items, including the furniture and drapes from the now-vacant 212 guest rooms, demolition crews began their work and labored throughout the summer and fall to prepare for the renovations.

Owners Daniel Hebert and Daniel Dagesse spent $2.3 million just over a year ago to purchase the property.

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