Demolition to begin at Edison elementary school gutted by fire

April 18, 2014 6:30:16 AM PDT
Demolition is set to begin next Friday, April 25, at a New Jersey school that was gutted by fire last month.

Workers are set to begin tearing down James Monroe Elementary in Edison.

Police say custodian Jerome Higgins tossed an unfinished cigarette into a trash, sparking the fire that destroyed the 50-year-old school.

CLICK HERE to see images of the fire.

Higgins was issued a summons accusing him of smoking in a public building, which is a disorderly persons offense.

There were no sprinklers in the building, because they were not required when the school was constructed back in the 1960s.

Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze for about three hours before it was brought under control. About a dozen firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation, but no residents were injured.

School Superintendent Richard O'Malley says the school's 500 students will continue to use classrooms at nearby Middlesex County College until the end of the school year.

The, the diocese has decided to allow students to use St. Cecelia's Elementary School until 2016.

Officials have requested proposals for building a replacement school building.