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Fire burns classrooms at Paradise Hills Elementary School

The damage was contained to three classrooms. School went on Friday as scheduled.

SAN DIEGO — An elementary school in Paradise Hills is dealing with the aftermath of a fire that damaged three classrooms. When fire crews arrived they say they were met with flames that were 25 feet in the air in shrubbery right next to Paradise Hills Elementary School.

National City and San Diego fire crews responded around 11:18 Thursday night. Crews believe the fire began in the shrubbery at a homeless encampment next to the school. The Battalion Chief says neighbors had seen people experiencing homelessness in the bushes before and that there is a history with them in this neighborhood.

"We're going to have to trim back and thin out the bushes to try and keep people out. There's certainly a homeless problem all over San Diego," said Interim Chief Operating Officer Gary Petill.

Parents tell News 8 they're not surprised about what happened. They say they've been aware of the homeless encampment for awhile.

Chief Babler says crews responded quickly and were able to prevent those flames from damaging more than just three classrooms. 

Friday classes went on as scheduled at the school.

Petill said the classrooms that were damaged weren't currently being utilized, and that there were plans to remodel them before the fire.

The Battalion Chief added that no civilians or fire personnel were injured during the fire. They say as it becomes colder overnight and people start fires to keep themselves warm, the danger of something like this taking place remains high.

The estimated property loss is $95,000 in damages to the building's structure and contents.

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