WFLZ Skirts Criminal Charges On Burned Van
Morning Hosts Settle After Turkey Fry Goes Awry
August 6, 2010 at 3:21 PM (PT)
The HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY State Attorney's Office will not criminally charge CLEAR CHANNEL Top 40/Mainstream WFLZ/TAMPA staffers who participated in a morning show stunt that set the station van on fire last DECEMBER. In return, TODD "MJ" SCHNITT, DOMINIC "FESTER" SICILIANO and THOMAS CHARLES RAY will do community service, contribute to a charity and appear in a public service campaign.
According to a local FOX-TV website, the van caught fire when one of the DJs was trying to fry a turkey inside the van during a live broadcast on DEC 18th, 2009. The van caught fire in the station parking lot and a firefighter who came to the scene was hospitalized with back injuries.
What's worse, WFLZ did not have any permits or emergency crews standing by during the stunt. TAMPA FIRE RESCUE had to be called to scene to put the blaze out, and a firefighter ended up hospitalized with back injuries.
According to the agreement, three employees of WFLZ involved in the incident will not face criminal charges. For this transgression, the three agreed to:
* 10 hours of community service to support fire/burn victims
* A combined contribution of $15,000 to charities that help fire/burn victims
* A four-week public service campaign to raise awareness for charities that help fire/burn victims, that consists of five recorded announcements per day by the MJ Morning Show, a live broadcast from a location that supports fire/burn victims, and homepage placement of the public service campaign on the station's website.
If the requirements of the agreement aren't met, the three they could still face criminal charges. While the TAMPA FIRE RESCUE originally sought felony arson charges, State attorney MARK OBER could not prove a crime had been committed.