Dangerous social media challenge growing in popularity

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Updated: 8/01 11:06 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. – Officials are warning of the dangers and potential consequences of taking part in the social media fire challenge.

The fire challenge is growing in popularity among teenagers. The stunt involves two items: liter fluid and a flame. Participants film themselves pouring liter fluid on their bodies and setting themselves on fire. The videos are then shared online.

“When I saw it, I just couldn’t believe it,” Albany resident Russell Mayben said. “I just typed on it ‘idiot.’”

A 15-year-old from Buffalo recently died from doing the stunt.

“It’s pretty scary what could possibly happen there,” Albany Deputy Fire Chief Frank Nerney said.

Liter fluid, or rubbing alcohol, burns between 450 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nerney said teens who take part in the fire challenge are lucky if they survive, and if the fire is not put out immediately, it could lead to second degree burns.

“If you happen to scream or inhale real quick, you’ll get those flames into your lungs,” Nerney said.

In addition, many participants who perform the challenge do it in a bathroom with flammable towels and shower curtains nearby.

“Please don’t let your kids do that because it’s dangerous,” Mayben pleaded. “They could disfigure their body and hurt themselves real bad.”

Not only is death possible, but those who participate in the fire challenge could face jail time.

In Albany County, you could face a charge of Reckless Endangerment if you help someone complete the challenge. If that person is seriously hurt, you could be charged with Assault. And if the person dies as a result of the fire challenge, you could be charged with Manslaughter or Murder. 

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