Local Fire Officials Warn Teens about Taking the 'Fire Challenge'

Lynchburg, VA - A Charlotte woman is facing charges after police there say she helped her teenage son take the 'Fire Challenge.'

That's the new stunt, where teens douse themselves in flammable liquids and light themselves on fire. Fortunately, there have been no Fire Challenge incidents in our area.

However, several videos have popped up on YouTube, and burn centers around the country have treatemultiplele teens for burn injuries resulting from the challenge.

That's why fire officials here are issuing a warning to local teens.

The fire challenge has become the inspiration for dozens of YouTube videos -- garnering thousands of views. In one video, a 16-year-old douses himself in what appears to be nail polish remover, a highly flammable liquid. Then moments later he sets himself on fire. The teen's mother was later arrested, after the video circulated on Facebook. Fortunately he only suffered minor burns to his chest and neck. However, firefighters say this challenge can quickly take a very wrong turn. "You can easily burn yourself so bad that you may never recover from the incident" said Battalion Chief Greg Wormser Battalion Chief Greg Wormser says it is not just the liquid that can ignite, but also the vapor. "You also don't know what the flammability is of the product that you are using. Some products are way more flammable than others" said Wormser. Child Psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Chester says teens do these kinds of things, because their brains aren't developed enough to understand consequences. "Wanting to take risks, in order to feel tough, to be tough, to look cool, to show off to get attention" said Dr. Ralph Chester He says the internet provides a platform for teens to get that attention. Dr. Chester says peer pressure also plays a big role. But giving in to that pressure can lead to very bad results. "The people that are doing it are going to end up with severe injuries and dying or killing other people."

Dr. Chester advises parent to talk to their children about the dangers of the 'Fire Challenge' and resisting the pressure to do it.

He says if you have a friend who is interested in taking the challenge it is important to speak up and talk to their parents or the authorities.

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