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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Fire fad raises safety concerns

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  • Newton Kansan
    While the Ice Bucket Challenge is sweeping the nation and raising millions of dollars for ALS, another not-so-wholesome and potentially lethal challenge has officials concerned.
    It's called the "Fire Challenge" and Kansas State Fire Marshall Doug Jorgensen has warned state residents to stay away from it.
    Teens have been posting videos of themselves on the internet, placing accelerants, such as hand sanitizer, to their bodies and setting themselves on fire. The youth try to put the fire out fast, but that does not always work. Several teens have been burned severely and a 15-year-old from Buffalo, N.Y., died taking the challenge.
    "It's out there, it's stupid," Newton Fire Marshal Randall McBee said. "You're basically putting lit gasoline on your body."
    The dangerous trend has not spread to Newton or Kansas and McBee is hoping to keep it out.
    Several teens have viewed the fire challenge as a thrill or a way to get famous on social media.
    "It's a lack of knowledge when they say that," McBee said. "They need to think again. They don't realize how fast the fire will flash and how serious it can be. It flashes on them and they're burned before they know what's happened."
    McBee said he has seen a lot of children suffer from severe burns over the years, resulting from playing with fire. They don't realize, beforehand, how painful it would be to get burned.
    "There's nothing worse than a really bad burn," McBee said.
    Firefighters will be going in to elementary schools during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 5-11, McBee said, and they will stress, as they do every year, not to play with matches.

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