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The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation will send an arson investigator to look into the fire at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, according to the Madison County Sheriff's Office.

Chief Deputy Michael Garrison said his department started the preliminary investigation on Wednesday.

The fire destroyed a lodge on the property. No one was in the building and no one was injured in the fire. The cause and origin are undetermined.

Garrison said an arson investigation is standard procedure in that kind of a fire.

"Had it not been a total loss we probably would have been able to make an assessment (on the origin) fairly quick," Garrison said.

The SBI agent will arrive Thursday, he said. Madison County Sheriff's deputies provided security Wednesday night.

Firefighters received the call about the blaze at the upper lodge at 1:34 a.m. Wednesday, according to Madison County emergency operations. Several fire departments were involved in fighting the fire,according to emergency operations.

The slopes closed for the season on March 14, according to the resort's website. Jeff Willis, Madison County fire marshal, said the lodge that burned housed a restaurant, ski rental and other amenities.

A company called Ski the Ridges owns the building that burned, Garrison said. The company owners are Orville English and Rick Bussey, he said.

In 2002, a fire at what was then Wolf Laurel Ski Resorts destroyed another building. That fire also destroyed the ticket booth and a group sales building. Investigators determined that fire was accidental.

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