Fire officials and health experts are warning of a dangerous national trend called the “Fire Challenge.” Teenagers are setting themselves on fire and posting the video as a social media stunt.
In the videos, teens apply flammable liquid to their bodies and then flick a lighter. They try to stop the flames quickly, but not everyone is quick enough.
“What their hopes are is that it will burn off and the fire will go out, but what actually happens and what can happen is that it can build up so much heat that it can permanently injure the skin and then they have to have burn surgery,” said Dr. Mike Feldman.
Dr Feldman has been involved in dozens of those procedures at VCU Medical Center’s burn unit.
“These kinds of burns can be second or third degree, they may need surgery. They can leave permanent scars, you may have to spend a long time in the hospital…chronic pain,” he said.
There has already been one reported death in buffalo where a 15-year-old boy died of his injuries after participating in the challenge.
“We were shocked to see that people are actually subjecting themselves to this on purpose, and it’s very disturbing to us,” said Lt. Jason Elmore with the Chesterfield Fire Department
Lt. Elmore says fire officials are hoping to spread the word about the dangers of the fire challenge, hoping they’ll never have to deal with a case here.
“Especially parents out there–make sure you know what your kids are doing, what they’re doing online. Make sure you’re monitoring their activity. So if they’re seeing videos like this, you can step in and tell the children how dangerous this is,” he said.
Dr. Feldman says the fumes from the flammable liquid can also be harmful and it can also cause the burns to become infected.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond