A major fire has burned through the remaining rooms of the Grossinger Hotel property, a former resort in the Catskills and inspiration for the hit 1987 film Dirty dance.
The Liberty Fire Department was dispatched to calls for a fire on the old property Tuesday night. They arrived to find a large three-and-a-half-story building completely engulfed in flames. The fire was so large that the column of smoke was visible several miles away, according to the department.
In recent years the property had become largely overgrown and abandoned. This hampered the responder’s ability to get to the fire site. Firefighters had to drill through a grate to gain access to the building’s roadway. Concrete barriers in the road further blocked firefighters’ easy access to the scene, firefighters said.
After the fire was extinguished, an excavator was brought in to tear down the remaining pieces of the building, officially ridding the Catskills of what was left of the Grossinger Hotel.
The fire is still under investigation, according to the Liberty Fire Department.
Grossinger’s heyday was after World War II, according to the Associated Press. Hundreds of thousands of vacationers traveled to the Catskills to visit the site. One of those visitors was Eleanor Bergstein, writer and producer of dirty dance, who vacationed there with his family.
The film tells the romantic story of a young woman (played by Jennifer Grey), named Francis “Baby” Houseman, who falls in love with a dance teacher named Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze), while on vacation. in 1963 in a complex just like Grossinger.
Prior to its final closure in 1986, the hotel encompassed a complex of 35 buildings on 1,200 acres that served 150,000 guests a year at its peak.
Although the film is based on this resort town, filming took place in North Carolina and Virginia.
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