†††††††††††††††††† †††† Middlesex County Prosecutorís Office

††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††† 25 Kirkpatrick Street, 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901 (732) 745-3300

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† †††† *News Release*†††††††††††††††† Date: March 24, 2014

 

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Custodian charged following Edison school fire

 

Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Chief Thomas J. Bryan of the Edison Police Department announced that a custodian was charged today with a petty disorderly persons offense for smoking inside the James Monroe Elementary School, which subsequently was destroyed in a fire.

 

Jerome C. Higgins, 48, of East Brunswick, was issued the summons for smoking in the public place in violation of a statute that prohibits smoking and/or carrying lighted tobacco materials.

 

The charge was filed after Detective Ted Hamer of the Edison Police Department and Investigator Todd OíMalley of the Middlesex County Prosecutorís Office determined that Higgins, a custodian at the elementary school, smoked a cigarette inside the building and tossed an unfinished portion of the cigarette into a trash can.

 

The contents of the trash can, located in a custodianís office, caught fire and the blaze spread through the building at approximately 7:45 p.m. on March 22, 2014.

 

Acting Prosecutor Carey thanked the Edison Police Department, the Edison Fire Department, Tim Morley of the Edison Fire Department, Middlesex County Fire Marshal Mike Gallagher, the New Jersey State Police and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for their assistance in the investigation.

 

The investigation is active and in continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator OíMalley of the Middlesex County Prosecutorís Office at (732) 745-3300.

 

As is the case with all defendants, the charge against Higgins is merely an accusation and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.