KANSAS CITY, Kansas (KCTV) — Disturbing new videos are showing up on YouTube of something called the “fire challenge.”
The videos show teens setting themselves on fire and recording it. A warning: some may find the videos disturbing.
It might be the most dangerous and disturbing thing people have ever seen a child intentionally do. The videos show teens dousing themselves in alcohol and, while standing in front of a shower, light the fluid.
They call it the “fire challenge.” Doctors working in the burn unit call it stupidity.
A 16-year-old teenager suffered first- and second-degree burns Friday after authorities say he tried to set himself on fire to complete the challenge, according to KTLA.
The boy, who was not identified, had poured rubbing alcohol across his chest before lighting himself on fire, according to Capt. Mike Summers, of the Orange County Fire Authority.
The teen was hospitalized with burns on his face, neck and hips, and was in “moderate” and “stable” condition Saturday, officials said.
The University of Kansas Hospital says during the summer they get about 10 patients a week from people using accelerants to start fires, causing serious burns. They say the “fire challenge” has been around for about five years and they do get patients that have done it.
“They lit their leg on fire and unfortunately it led to third-degree burns with required skin grafting,” said Dr. Dhaval Bhavsar with the University of Kansas Hospital Burn Unit.
Doctors say kids have been intentionally lighting themselves on fire for years, but now with the advent of YouTube and national stunt shows they say it’s getting more dangerous and doctors fear it might become deadly.
“It has a potential, yes,” Bhavsar said.
The Overland Park Fire Department said it’s no joke. They set up a demonstration to show just how hot the fires get on the body and how dangerous they really are.
“People don’t fully understand the consequences of what can happen by doing this ‘fire challenge.’ It’s beyond a prank on YouTube, it can cause permanent damage to yourself that can last your entire life. It can burn your house down,” said Overland park Fire Investigator Kurt Neis.
The department adds that teens can be prosecuted for setting the intentional fires.
Already teens in Kentucky and Ohio have been seriously hurt performing the “fire challenge.”