'Fire challenge' rages through social media
"Fire-challenge" videos in which young people set themselves on fire are going viral on social media, leading to potentially deadly situations.
The videos, which have been posted on YouTube and other platforms, show people dousing themselves with flammable liquids and setting themselves on fire. They usually have water nearby to extinguish the flames.
A 12-year-old boy from Queens doused himself with rubbing alcohol and set himself on fire earlier this week in his Far Rockaway home. He suffered third-degree burns to 40 percent of his body and is now fighting for his life at Nassau University Medical Center, say police.
"It's deep. It destroys all the tissue," says Chief John Murray, of the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center. "When they're breathing and screaming, they're getting inhalation burns. They're getting that heat and flame into their noses and into their throats, and that sears the lungs."
"It's horrifying what kids are doing for entertainment these days," says one person who viewed some of the videos. Parents in the Hudson Valley hope that the fire challenge doesn't arrive in the area.
The fire videos started appearing online about three years ago.