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Posted: Saturday, August 30th 2014 at 10:45am

Fire services warns about dangers of online Fire Challenge

By Alyson Shields
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GAINESVILLE – The Ice Bucket Challenge became a viral video fad to increase awareness of ALS, but another fad has come to light that isn’t as inspiring - and can be quite dangerous.

It’s called the Fire Challenge and it encourages participants to set themselves on fire. Unlike the Ice Bucket Challenge, this challenge is not affiliated with raising awareness or money for any charities.

“I’m not sure where it started, but kids are being challenged through social media… to put some sort of ignitable liquid on their chest or their skin and set it (the liquid) on fire,” said Lt. Beverly Walker with Hall County Fire Services.

“Most of the videos we’ve seen, they’re in the bathroom or in the shower when they’re doing this. Of course, it doesn’t turn out so well for most of them,” said Walker. “They can’t turn the water on quick enough, they panic.”

Walker said the fire department doesn’t believe the challenge has come to the county just yet, but they encourage parents and teachers to talk to kids about how dangerous the challenge really is and to keep an eye on social media. They suggest those who see the videos online should not "like," comment on, or share the videos and should report them to website administrators or flag them as inappropriate.

In other parts of the country, a woman in Charlotte, N.C., was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after she not only allowed her son to participate, but also filmed the challenge for him. Another teen in Lexington, Ken., was hospitalized following his challenge.

"Somebody dared or challenged them to do this, and it is very distrubing," said Walker. "I've worked my whole career to prevent burn injuries to people and now to find that they are setting themselves on fire intentionally while someone videos it, it's very, very disturbing and heartbreaking because they just don't know the danger that's involved there."

Walker made her comments on a recent edition of WDUN's Afternoon News Wrap.

Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News

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Gainesville, GA 30501
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