'Fire Challenge' spreading across country

Local leaders, firefighters, teens speaking out against it

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's a dangerous stunt making its way across social media. And now the "Fire Challenge" has local leaders, firefighters and teens concerned.

For the challenge, teens pour flammable liquids, such as nail polish or rubbing alcohol, onto their bodies and then light themselves on fire.

Reports of these incidents going wrong are popping up all over the U.S. Some say this is part of an even bigger problem, one that could one day gravely affect someone's future.

There are thousands of videos on YouTube with social media challenges.

Some local leaders say stunts like this can cause a teen's future to go up in flames, and that's why they're aiming to put it out.

"When everybody is doing it, it's hard not to be a part of it," said Rudolph McKissick Jr., pastor of Bethel Baptist Church. "So we've got to be very intentional about how we attack this whole thing."

That hits close to home for 14-year old Terrence Harden. Just last week, his friend was rushed to the hospital after the Fire Challenge left him badly burned.

"He was trying to put it out but it wouldn't go out," Harden said. "So he had to wait for the water to go on, and then when he put it in the water, his skin was pink."

Firefighters said it takes about 200 degrees to create second-degree burns, and it only takes a couple of seconds for fire to spread once lit.

Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters, said there's no way to control fire from spreading all over your body when doused with flammable liquids.

"Firefighters responding to these types of calls where somebody says, 'Well, they lit themselves on fire as a joke to put on YouTube,' I mean, that's frustrating for firefighters," Wyse said. "I mean, why in the world would somebody do that? And again, the peer pressures today are different."

For others, that bad decision can affect their lives. Harden hopes people at home will hear that message.

"The dumb challenges that these people are doing, it needs to stop," he said. "We are the future, and the future is not looking bright with the way we are going."

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