I agree, probably a bad connection at the blower and that'* what caused ti to melt. It'* pretty common. Got a good solder gun? If not, use mine at the meet this week. It'll solder 10 gauge wires in a good wind.
No need to tear the dash apart to get at the resistor. It'* located under the maxifuse center, on the firewall. Would be tough to cut an access hole in the firewall when all you gotta do is pull a few screws/bolts.
I'd put the cooling fan fuse back in. Cooling fan is used to cool the motor, you'd want the blower motor fuse if you were pulling one. I'd simply press "off" on the climate control to turn it off though.