It may have been winter's last hurrah on the New England coast, but a February 26 nor'easter that buried much of the Northeast in snow also destroyed — by fire — a well-known beachfront landmark in the shore town of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, according to the Hampton Union newspaper (" Fire destroys Hampton Beach block of businesses ," by Patrick Cronin). Five properties were a total loss in the conflagration, and at least six more were damaged, the paper reports. Already short-handed because of budget cuts, local fire crews were busy around the jurisdiction answering calls for accidents, fallen trees, and downed power lines when the fire broke out after midnight, according to press reports (" Fire chief blames budget in Hampton Beach blaze ," by Patrick Cronin). A power failure at the closest fire station, followed by a generator failure, also prevented firefighters from deploying one fire truck, the paper reports. Some neighboring town fire crews were also tied up, and those who could respond were delayed by bad road conditions. But severe conditions meant that even given full crews, ready equipment, and more support from other towns, the fire might have been unstoppable. Winds approaching hurricane strength pushed the flames horizontally, eyewitnesses reported. "My police scanner informed me that the Surf Hotel was on fire. By the time I grabbed my camera and ran out the door, the building was fully engulfed," blogs NewHampshire.com photographer and writer Lisa Martineau on her " Live Free and Blog " page. "The wind was so powerful, it took the whole building in no time at all." Martineau's video (below) shows the inferno viewed from a safe distance, with color commentary by local residents. Martineau has also posted still photography of the fire's aftermath. At least one owner is determined to come back, reports the Hampton Union (" Mrs. Mitchell's could rise from ashes ," by Patrick Cronin). Bob Mitchell, the third-generation owner of Mrs. Mitchell's Country Shop, a surfside souvenir market, says a few sentimental items survived the blaze, including a giant troll and a shark's head. Mitchell told the paper that he hopes to be back in business by 2011.