Century worth of news archives burned in fire

Published On: Sep 12 2011 11:52:54 AM PDT   Updated On: Sep 23 2010 06:27:29 AM PDT

A 21-year-old man who drove drunk to the scene of a fire at The Shoshone News Press Thursday morning was subsequently arrested for both DUI and arson.

The fire was called in just after 5:30 a.m. by Mike Basile?s wife.

?She said there were flames shooting out the window and worried it was going to jump over to the water department,? Basile said.

Crews from the Kellogg Fire Department, who are stationed directly across the street from the newspaper, saw flames coming from the back of the building. Firefighters kept the fire from spreading and saved the building though it suffered extensive damage.

While firefighters fought the fire Shoshone News Press employees watched from across the street, forced to cover breaking news at their own office. The paper, owned by the Hagadone Corporation, is printed in Couer d'Alene so Publisher Dan Drewry says the fire did not stop the presses.

?It does nothing to the paper, tomorrow we'll have the best quality paper of anyone in the North Idaho will be on the street we will have uninterrupted customer service,? Drewry said.

The fire was extinguished quickly but not before it destroyed 70 to 80 years of daily news archives kept inside the building. Drewry says that some of the archive is backed up on microfilm and he's not sure how much was lost.

While firefighters were quick to extinguish the fire, Kellogg Police were quick to arrest a suspect.

Police officers say that around 6:45 21-year-old Doug Burmeister drove up to the scene of the fire and they were able to determine that he was drunk. In the process of arresting him for DUI witnesses gave officers enough information to also arrest him for arson for burning the Shoshone News Press building.

?When they come back to the scene like this it makes it real easy for us,? Kellogg Police Chief Dave Wuolle said.

Officers said that Burmeister, who?s had run-ins with the police in the past, also had blood on his hands, but did not release information about where the blood came from.

Burmeister has been booked into jail for DUI and suspicion of arson.