VFD warning people to stop attempting "the fire challenge" - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

VFD warning people to stop attempting "the fire challenge"

A plastic bottle, used to represent a person's skin, shriveled up and began melting seconds after being covered in hand sanitizer and set on fire A plastic bottle, used to represent a person's skin, shriveled up and began melting seconds after being covered in hand sanitizer and set on fire
Carl Smith Carl Smith
VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

Would you intentionally set yourself on fire just to become more popular? Apparently, a lot of teens are doing it these days. So much so that the Valdosta Fire Department wants to bring awareness to the issue in hopes of encouraging people to stop doing it.

Fire fighters say it's a disturbing new trend called the "fire challenge", where teens pour a flammable liquid on themselves, light the liquid on fire, and then try to put it out before they get severely burned. It's becoming increasingly popular among teens across the country.

"The risk to the children that are doing this, it can go from anywhere to severe burns to death," said Valdosta Fire Department Captain Carl Smith. "We want to try to prevent any of that we can."

Wednesday, fire fighters demonstrated just how flammable some of the liquids teens are using are. Fire fighters used a two liter bottle to represent a persons skin. It shriveled up and almost completely melted in less than a minute after being covered with hand sanitizer and then set on fire.

"We all just became aware of it a few short weeks ago. It was sweeping all the social medias," said Smith.

Now, with area schools starting back up, Smith said based on the information he's learned about this trend, it's even more concerning.

"It was a lot of peer pressure involved with this challenge and we want to make sure, since this is the beginning of the new school year and this just started, we wanna make sure we get it out to everyone that this is not a good activity," Smith explained.

In another demonstration, a fire fighter poured nail polish remover onto a piece of plywood, just like teens have been seen in videos on the internet pouring it on their skin. It took less than a second for the liquid to burst into flames, which could cause life threatening burns to the skin in a matter of seconds.

But Smith points out that the danger extends beyond just the person on fire.

"You could ignite the room," Smith emphasized. "We could actually end up with a structure fire with people inside the house." That's why he hopes this awareness will help put out this fiery trend.

Fire fighters are asking anyone who sees someone attempting this challenge or knows someone who has to call the police or the fire department immediately. They also pointed out that anyone involved in these incidents could potentially face felony charges.

Copyright 2014 WALB. All rights reserved.

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