Officials: 'Fire challenge' fad dangerous for teens

Published: Jul. 30, 2014 at 7:33 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2014 at 3:02 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A new fad is making its way around social media and into the homes of teens in our area. It's called the "fire challenge," and officials say it could easily get someone killed.

In the "fire challenge," young people are setting themselves on fire.

**Warning: some may find the videos disturbing**

WBTV was alerted to the issue after a viewer sent in a video of a man who says he lives in Charlotte. In the video, the man laughs, jokes, and douses himself in rubbing alcohol.

Then, he screams in pain as he lights himself on fire, and the flames cover his body.

More than 100,000 people have shared the video on Facebook.

Charlotte fire officials say this so-called challenge has become a serious problem over the past four to six weeks, especially this summer.

Captain Rob Brisley of the Charlotte Fire Department said, "An activity. A flammable liquid.  Poor, poor combination."

Brisley says officials are looking into the cases claiming to be happening in Charlotte.

Ernest Grant, outreach prevention coordinator with N. C. Jaycee Burn Center, tells WBTV he has documented two new "fire challenge" cases this week.

Both cases, Grant said, resulted in severe burns.

"They are very serious. One is 10-percent of the body surface area and the other is 20-percent of the body surface area. In both cases these individuals are going to have to have surgery," Grant said.

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.

Grant says parents need to talk to their kids about not giving into peer pressure and not partaking is dangerous online challenges like the "fire challenge."

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