School officials seek answers after fire stunt

Posted at 11:01 AM, Mar 18, 2016

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Palm Beach County school Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa wants to know how a performer using fire was approved to take part in a high school pep rally.

Thursday, Ricky "Inferno" Charles accidentally lit himself on fire while performing at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach.

During a media briefing Friday, Avossa said fire is never allowed on school campuses, and certainly not inside.

"When you put fire in a building, that's a problem," he said.

He said each principal is tasked with vetting and choosing performers. He said the district offices cannot oversee that process logistically.

"The one who is responsible for that ultimately is the school principal. A lot of these decisions are made with the professionals we empower to run their schools. They're big jobs," he pointed out.

NewsChannel 5 reached out to the the city of Delray Beach, the fire department, the State Fire Marshal, the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Department of Agriculture about rules and regulations for these types of performances.

None of the agencies said they require entertainers to give them notice before a scheduled performance.

A representative from a dance group which uses fire in its performances told NewsChannel 5 each municipality has different rules about what is required ahead of time.

"To me, it's commonsense, you don't bring that kind of activity into a building anywhere, let alone a school, auditorium, media center, or gym filled with children," Avossa said.

He told us he was shocked and unhappy when he saw a video of the event.

Charles, the performer, is expected to be released from the hospital Friday or Saturday after suffering burns to his face, arm and thigh.

He said he asked Atlantic High School specifically if they wanted him to use fire in his act.

"They say this is against school policy, but that's why I asked before I do it, so I get my deal out of the way," Charles explained.

Avossa wants to know who had that conversation. He says disciplinary action could follow.

Despite this policy, Charles said Friday he has performed before at Palm Beach County schools.

Spokeswoman Kathy Burstein said Charles had performed at four Palm Beach schools in the last five years, receiving $1,600 total.

Only two of those performances, one at Spanish River High School, the other at Boca Raton High School, involved fire.