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VIDEO: East Brunswick Man Sorry For Cigarette That Ignited Edison School Fire

Video of a community meeting that discussed Edison's plans for the students, and plans to rebuild the school

An East Brunswick man has expressed sorrow for his role in the fire that burned the James Monroe Elementary School in Edison to the ground earlier this week.

“I want people to know that I love their kids,” said Jerome C. Higgins, his eyes welling up with tears, according to NJ.com. “There was nothing that could be worse in my life than for me to displace 500 children and inconvenience and hurt their families.”

Higgins, 48, who has worked for the Edison School System for 24 years, has been charged with a petty disorderly persons offense for smoking inside the school, according to NJ.com.

Richard O'Malley, Edison schools superintendent, said the district will rebuild the school and students will be taking classes at Middlesex Community College.

"Although we had a tragedy happen in our town, the most important thing is that no one was hurt," said O'Malley.

School will reconvene for James Monroe students with space being provided at Middlesex County College. Busing will be provided.

"All your kids are going to go to college," O'Malley said, to cheers of parents and others attending a community meeting Monday night (see video).

Counseling services will be available at the Education Center, (312 Pierson Avenue, Edison) for James Monroe students, staff, and members of the community. (Counseling services for students attending other Edison Public Schools will be available at the respective school.)
neverland March 25, 2014 at 11:18 AM
I hope this guy stops smoking... bad joke.
Joe R March 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM
It seems incredible that one cigarette butt could have caused such a wide spread conflagration but I suppose that not having a sprinkler system would be a contributor to the devastation. Retrofitting an older building with a sprinkler system is very expensive but a hell of a lot cheaper than rebuilding a school that was destroyed by a fire. I thought for sure that it was an act of arson but it turns out to be an act of abject negligence and stupidity.

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