- The Washington Times - Friday, January 23, 2009

Something started to smell like smoke this afternoon in the White House Press Briefing room.

Turns out Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton somehow broke the motor on the door, which has been malfunctioning all week.

We joked they were trying to lock us in as the stench of burning plastic wafted throughout the work space.

TV camera and sound technicians rushed to the doorway as smoke began to curl out of the electric circuit above the door, which opens automatically.

Photographers scurried to get pictures as a uniformed Secret Service guard came armed with a fire extinguisher.

Others started filming.

Watch the mayhem as reporters crowd the door

“Trial by fire,” NBC’s Athena Jones joked.

True, there have been no shortage of surprises this week at the White House - a re-swearing in, an impromptu presidential visit and now a broken front door.

An officer yelled, “Sir, don’t open that door please!” as someone tinkered with the motor. Turned out that person was here to fix the door.

The reporters gawk at door, ask who’s to blame

“Sorry! I thought he was one of you,” the officer said, referring to the press, which was crowded around.

Everyone was buzzing about who was responsible as reporters started blogging about the chaos.

“That’s spelled V-I-E-T-O-R,” Burton told the press, blaming another press staffer, Tommy Vietor.

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