Radio morning show van inferno


After failing to demonstrate how cooking in a vehicle can start a fire at Thanksgiving, the syndicated “MJ Morning Show” from WFLZ-FM Tampa had too much success Friday morning. Tampa fire officials are none too pleased that the stunt, done without permits, resulted in injuries to one station employee and one firefighter.

UPDATE: A Friday afternoon statement from the Tampa Fire Department said that no civilian was treated for injuries, only the firefighter.

Video on the show’s website showed how the first attempt last month went wrong. A crane was used to lower a frozen turkey into boiling oil through the open roof of a van which had been outfitted with furniture like someone’s home. But nothing much happened and the turkey cooked away. So, that attempt to demonstrate the danger of frying in an enclosed space was a failure as far as the morning show was concerned.

On Friday, attempt number two had too much success. The oil did indeed catch the furniture on fire and station employees weren’t able to put out the flames. Firefighters were called to deal with the totally engulfed vehicle sitting in the Clear Channel Radio parking lot. One station employee was injured and a Tampa firefighter suffered a back injury.

“Our intent was to show how dangerous it was to cook a turkey in a situation like this. We were prepared to extinguish a modest fire. Once the fire got out of control, we quickly called the fire department,” Tommy Chuck, MJ Morning Show Program Director, said in a posting on the show’s website.

According to the Tampa Tribune, investigators from the State of Florida and Tampa fire marshal offices have referred the matter to the state attorney’s office for possible prosecution.