ANADARKO — Old editions dating to the early 1900s are ashes. Desktop computers were melted. And huge rolls of newsprint resembled charred marshmallows.
But what wasn’t lost in the fire that ravaged the offices of The Anadarko Daily News early Saturday was important news that only a community paper provides. Thanks to The El Reno Tribune, the paper printed on Monday, missing no days. The paper does not publish on Sundays. By moving forward, the paper kept alive legal notices, game stories and advertisements. But that’s not all. Think about small-town papers you grew up with or occasionally noticed. Think about features that mean a lot to readers that can’t be found in another newspaper. Only in The Anadarko Daily News will you find: "Sunny Pals,” a list of of Anadarko Public Schools students in prekindergarten through first grade achieving perfect attendance. The Anadarko and Fort Cobb "Yards of the Month.” And, Thursday’s list of "Powwows and Handgames.” This is real community news, for and about real people. It’s not the paper’s slogan, it’s their unmatched product. "That paper is the livelihood of the community” said George Salamy, owner of George’s Department Store in Anadarko for about 60 years. "How would people know what was going on in the county if they didn’t put it in print for us?” Flames also devoured the Tornado Alley bar. This is a newspaper tracing its heritage to 1901. This paper was among three papers purchased by the late Joe McBride Sr. in 1937 and combined into one. It’s a paper which today serves primarily Caddo County, with 4,200 paid circulation and thousands more readers who borrow a copy. Most importantly it’s a paper that on Monday rolled off the presses at El Reno.
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The fire investigation
The state fire marshal’s office is not ready to say whether arson is suspected in the Saturday fire that destroyed The Anadarko Daily News and Tornado Alley bar.
"We know that it started near the back of the bar in the area of an electrical panel, but we have not determined how it was caused,” fire marshal spokeswoman JoAnne Sellars said Monday.
Investigators said the fire was discovered at the bar about 5 a.m., three hours after it closed. "There was heavy smoke reported when firefighters arrived,” Sellars said. "They made entry but had to back out due to the thick smoke.”
Carolyn McBride, editor of The Anadarko Daily News, said she arrived at the fire about 5:30 a.m. Saturday. She and husband Joe McBride Jr., co-publishers, were just north of the newspaper building in a park near when she looked down and saw a gun. McBride said she flagged down a police officer, Sgt. Charles Pendarvis, and he took possession of the .38-caliber pistol. She said she does not think the gun had any relevance to the fire. Johnny Johnson and Robert Medley, Staff Writers