EDISON (AP) — The janitor accused of causing a fire that burned down an Edison elementary school has resigned in order to retire.

Fire damage at the James Monroe School in Edison (Edison Office of Emergency Management)

The Edison school board on Tuesday accepted Jerome Higgins' resignation.

Board president Veena Iyer tells MyCentralJersey.com this will hopefully bring closer and allow the district to move on.

Higgins worked for the district for more than 25 years and was on paid administrative leave since the March fire destroyed James Elementary School.

The district also has filed tenure charges against Higgins for smoking on school grounds destructon of school property, smoking on school grounds and being dishonest with the school's principal about the events of the day of the fire.

The custodian 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. Higgins was issued a summons accusing him of smoking in a public building, which is a disorderly persons offense. A court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 5.


The Associated Press contributed to this report