By Daymond Steer
JACKSON – No one was injured when a fire heavily damaged the main building of the Nestlenook Farm by the River resort Sunday night. The establishment was closed for renovations at the time. By Monday afternoon, the damaged Victorian building had been torn down.
Cause of the fire is believed to be a malfunction of a walk-in cooler system in the basement, according to fire chief Jay Henry and inn owner Robert Cyr.
The building was over 200 years old.
The fire, a four- or five-alarm blaze, started around 9 p.m. on Sunday and was extinguished around 7 a.m. on Monday, said Henry.
When asked if there were any challenges in putting in the fire out, Henry said the fire was "extremely well hidden" and was "very had to get to." When asked where the fire was located, Henry said the fire was "hidden everywhere."
On Monday morning, around 11 a.m., fire crews were still making sure the fire was completely extinguished. The fire crews used "thermal imagers" in order to locate pockets of heat and fire.
Investigators with the New Hampshire Fire Marshal's office were on scene Monday morning.
Henry confirmed that the inn was not open at the time of the fire. He said this is one of the biggest fires his department has had to battle in a while.
Fire departments that assisted Jackson include Bartlett, North Conway, Redstone, Center Conway, Conway, Madison, West Ossipee and Center Ossipee.
People who commented on the Sun's Facebook page Monday were saddened by news of the fire.
"We have spent wonderful times there, many fond memories," wrote Dani Gaudreau Bicknell.
"That was such a beautiful building, but thank goodness no one was hurt," wrote Donna Prendergast Martin.
Cyr said he was living at the inn and is "heartbroken" about the fire. He's glad that his dogs weren't harmed. Cyr said he "panicked" when he thought one of the dogs might be in danger. Cyr praised the firefighters for arriving quickly and working long hours, adding that some were still on scene Monday evening.
"The fire department is incredible," said Cyr. "I called 9-1-1 and they were there."
Activities such as the Chocolate Tour and Miracle at Nestlenook Ledges will go on as planned. Miracle at Nestlenook Ledges, a Christmas-themed program with sleigh rides, is still slated to open Thanksgiving weekend. Ice skating will be weather dependent.