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Late night fire damages Davis Elementary

Overheated wires in an electrical conduit have been identified as the cause for a fire at Davis Elementary School, 19501 N.E. Davis Street, at 10:24 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18.

Firefighters said the fire was burning in a 12-foot section of a wall inside the building. The heat and smoke set off the alarm system, which sent a notification to the fire department.

'The response time must have been phenomenal,' said Chuck Rhoads, executive director of business services for Reynolds School District. 'It was contained to one wall.'

In order to extinguish the blaze, firefighters had to cut a hole in the roof and spray water between the walls. Damages are estimated to cost the school district about $100,000 because of wiring and wall and roof materials that need to be replaced.

'It could have been pretty major. … If someone hadn't called in that could have lost the whole school,' said Jim Klum, deputy chief of emergency operations at Gresham Fire Department.

Fire damage will not delay the start of the school in a few weeks.

'I'm happy to believe that school will open on time and the kids won't even know anything happened,' Rhoads said.