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Teen "Fire Challenges" Spark Emergency Warning

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC10's Ted Greenberg explains the dangerous challenge spreading across the country that leads to hospitalization for some teens. (Published Friday, Aug 22, 2014)

    Officials with the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety have issued a statewide emergency bulletin about a dangerous "fire challenge" teens are taking.

    They are dousing their bare skin in flammable liquids, like alcohol, and lighting it on fire.

    The teens are recording the acts and posting the videos on YouTube and Facebook. But the stunt has already resulted in serious injuries across the nation.

    Derrick Robinson, an 11-year-old from the Miami-area, had to be hospitalized in a regional burn center after trying the challenge. He suffered burns to his torso, chest and shoulder and has to undergo weekly hospital visits as he heals.

    “Do not do the burn challenge!” Robinson told our sister station NBC6 South Florida.

    In Arkansas, a 14-year-old girl suffered second degree burns to 27 percent of her body after pouring nail polish remover on her skin and igniting it.

    "I saw a lot of people do it, and I never saw anyone die from it," the girl, Monica Hamilton, told the NBC affiliate in Little Rock, Arkansas, as she discussed her motivation.

    A mother in Charlotte, North Carolina, was arrested after police said she helped her 16-year-old son undertake the dangerous act.

    While there haven't been any reported injuries to New Jersey teens, officials want everyone to be aware of how dangerous lighting yourself on fire is.

    "I have seen some people who have died from burns. It's just devastating," said Frank Primavera, an official with the Hamilton Township, New Jersey, Fire Department.

    Officials say that teens taking the challenge risk burns not only to their skin but also to their respiratory system, since they are inhaling the ignited vapors.

    Primavera is hoping parents will talk with their kids to help put an end to the risky challenge.

    "The adults need to speak with their teenagers and find out why they would even want to do something like this and explain to them how devastating burns can be. They're forever," he said.