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Demolition To Begin Friday At Edison Elementary School Destroyed By Fire

Authorities are investigating a fire at James Monroe Elementary School in Edison, NJ on March 24, 2014. (credit: CBS 2)

Authorities are investigating a fire at James Monroe Elementary School in Edison, NJ on March 24, 2014. (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Crews are set to begin tearing down an Edison, N.J. elementary school that was destroyed by a fire last month.

Demolition of the James Monroe Elementary School is scheduled to start Friday.

Head custodian Jerome C. Higgins, 48, of East Brunswick, is accused of tossing an unfinished cigarette into a trash can in the janitor’s office, sparking the blaze that gutted the 50-year-old school on March 22.

The school had smoke and fire alarms, but no sprinklers. It is against state law to smoke inside a school building.

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

Classes resumed for the 500 students at nearby Middlesex County College after the school offered to donate two campus buildings.

Supplies for the students were donated, and children from other schools in the district made encouraging signs that now hang on the walls of the temporary school.

School Superintendent Richard O’Malley said students will continue to be bused to Middlesex County College for classes through the end of the school year.

Officials have requested proposals for building a replacement school building. It could take at least two years to rebuild.

On Wednesday, students from the school were surprised with a trip to MetLife Stadium for a super field day.

The students were treated to a football-centric field trip – complete with inflatable obstacle courses, and tossing, tackling and field drills.

The students told CBS 2 the best part of the surprise was being able to have fun with their friends at the place that hosted this year’s Super Bowl.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)