Damage estimate at $500,000

Thursday, May 18th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PORTER, Okla. (AP) -- Demolition crews knocked down the remaining sandstone walls of the fire-ravaged Porter Elementary School as investigators looked at a glue gun and an electrical outlet as sources for this week's blaze.

Damage to the school may exceed $500,000, Superintendent Jim Borin said Wednesday. He said that the building and its contents were a total loss except for two air-conditioning units.

The costs of lost textbooks, lab equipment and other materials were still being assessed.

Officials believe that an electrical short in an old glue gun may have caused Tuesday's fire.

"A teacher remembers plugging in the glue gun at about 8:30a.m.," Borin said. "The glue gun was about 25 years old. It would have never gotten hot enough to start a fire, but there could have been a short."

The fire was found in the kindergarten room. Normally, there would have been 28 students and a teacher there, but the students were to come to school at 12:30 p.m. that day to join the afternoon kindergarten class for graduation practice.

The students graduated Wednesday.

Students returned to classes Thursday. Borin said the school was using some space in the Baptist church next door and had rearranged the junior high for the last couple of days of school.

Meanwhile Wednesday, fire gutted the abandoned George Wright School in northeastern Oklahoma City. No one was injured in the 8:30 p.m. fire.

Firefighters found thick smoke and heavy flames when they arrived at the boarded-up school. Flames broke through the roof and spread in the strong wind.