Who said that halftime was the safest part of the game? That's certainly not the case in Topeka Kansas, where baton twirling legend Beverly Bernardi was attempting to use a bit of fire to ignite a halftime performance.
She almost burned down a high school field instead.
The video you see above depicts Bernardi's performance at halftime of the high school football game between Topeka High (Topeka, Kan.) and Emporia High (Emporia, Kan.). The fire started when Bernardi was preparing a set of flaming batons for her use during the halftime show. That's when the fire accidentally slipped from the baton preparation station to the field below, starting a minor blaze on the artificial turf field.
Luckily, because the field was an artificial turf surface rather than a natural grass coverage, the fire expanded slowly enough to eventually be contained. It wasn't too slow to keep from at least one major burst of flames leaping up and terrifying nearby amateur videographers in the stands.
Throughout it all, the most bizarre tendency may have been the overwhelming lack of panic by anyone near the on-field flames. The band continued to play in the background as if it had planned an impromptu cauldron of fire in the foreground the entire time. Bernardi herself hardly seemed to care that there were flames right at her feet.
According to Topeka news network WIBW, Topeka Public Schools Communication Director Ron Harbaugh said that the Hummer Sports Park turf surface suffered so little damage that the burning residue should be fixed with a simple power washing.
That's a pleasant conclusion to what started as a dangerous if exciting stunt that just happened to go wrong.