On September 5th, the custodian who was accused of smoking and starting the fire that burned down James Monroe Elementary School pleaded guilty. Nearly 5 months after the incident occurred it was decided that the custodian would have to pay a fine of $200. The custodian, Jerome Higgins, retired from his job in July but explained that his pension would continue to be provided to him.
Higgins’ attorney emphasized that sufficient evidence needed to be provided to prove that the smoking had a connection to the fire and that Higgins had the capability to pay the fine. On March 22nd, the day after the fire, Higgins was charged for burning the school after he failed to correctly dispose his cigarette. Fortunately, no one else was in the building at the time.
It was at last decided that Higgins would not be charged with any violation related to the fire. Now that this situation has been settled, more time can be devoted to rebuilding the school and ensuring that the students can resume their normal education as soon as possible. For the remainder of the 2013 year, the students were taken to Middlesex County College.