Cigarette caused Edison Elementary fire

By Marie Blake,

A discarded cigarette is the cause of Saturday night's fire at Edison Elementary school in Edison, N.J.

WABC reports that custodian, 48-year-old Jerome Higgins, has been charged for smoking in a public school, which later caused a fire, destroying Edison Elementary.

Higgins threw out the rest of his cigarette into his office trash can, which caused the fire that spread through the school around 8 p.m. Saturday night.

Smoking is banned in all public schools in New Jersey.

Firefighters fought to control the fire for three hours. No residents were harmed, but a dozen firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation.

"You don't realize a simple little act like that, how it's going to disrupt 500 families," parent David Scarito said. "Where do you send your kids for the next couple days? Carpooling, busing, everything."

About 500 students, kindergarten through fifth grade, attended the school.

CBS New York notes that classes have been cancelled Monday and Tuesday. Students will be transported by bus to Middlesex County College on Wednesday.

"A devastating tragedy for our school community and words can't begin to say how hard this is for our community," Edison Public Schools Superintendent Richard O’Malley said.

A parent meeting will be held Monday night at 7:30 as well as a press conference. The district is still working on a plan for the remainder for the school year.

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