Fire Challenge: Teens set themselves ablaze, shoot video becoming new social media trend

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - A dangerous dare that could end up in your child's social media feed is spreading like wildfire.

Young people are setting themselves ablaze and taking videos of what happens next.

The hashtag, #firechallenge, is all over social media like Instagram and Twitter with disturbing videos of people intentionally burning themselves.

Watch one of the fire challenges below.

In the spirit of the challenge, people will douse themselves in accelerants like rubbing alcohol, fingernail polish remover or hand sanitizer and then ignite it.

"It's life altering," said Stan McDonald, an official with the Overland Park Fire Department in Missouri.

To show how dangerous it is, McDonald imitated the scenario Thursday with KSHB-TV in Kansas City,  one of WCPO's news partners.

Pouring 40 percent alcohol hand sanitizer on a T-shirt, he then lit it with a hand held lighter.

“And as it lights off," he said, "It spreads very fast. Instantly we are at 450 degrees."

If that were your skin, it would be exposed to up to 600 degrees. The longer the skin and clothes are lit, the worse the burns can be, even leading to third degree burns in some cases. It can also burn the inside of the body.

"If they light themselves on fire and they look down and inhale these flames, they are not just going to burn the surface of their body. They are going to suck those flames in their mouth and down their lungs," McDonald said.

These teens are trying to be near a water source to extinguish the flames, but that will not prevent injury.

"It is dangerous," Dr. Austin Lehr at the Research Medical Center Burn Center in Overland Park said. He is a surgeon and treats burn victims on a daily basis. He warns this craze can cause long term effects and could lead to multiple surgeries.

"Second and third degree burns require surgical removal of those dead layers of skin that are hurt by the burns and this is followed with skin grafting," Lehr said.

Doctors said this could be a sign of emotional issues. They advised parents to talk to their children and monitor what they are seeing or doing online.

Print this article Back to Top

Must See Video