A 12-year-old boy has suffered serious burns following an ill-advised attempt to perform a “fire challenge.”
Jason Clearly, a 12-year-old boy from Michigan, was doused in nail polish remover by friends and then set ablaze, suffering second-degree burns across his stomach, chest, and chin.
“Challenges,” in internet terminology, refer to difficult or dangerous stunts pulled by people filming themselves with the intention of uploading it to the internet and challenging others to perform the same stunt.
Notable examples include the cinnamon challenge, where participants try to eat an entire spoon of cinnamon, and the milk challenge, where they try to chug a gallon of milk. (both of which are dangerous, so don’t try this at home!)
In the case of the “fire challenge,” it’s a highly ill-advised challenge that some children are exposed to on YouTube. In the flashiest examples of the challenge, performers with pyrotechnics backgrounds will light themselves ablaze in controlled settings where they are unharmed.
12-year-old children, however, are far from pyrotechnics experts.
In the case of Jason Clearly, his friends saw a “fire challenge” on YouTube and decided to take part. They doused their friend in nail polish remover and then lit him on fire. According to Jason, the first time they did this, they quickly swatted the flames out, but they were unimpressed by this exercise.
They poured more nail polish remover on him and lit him ablaze again, this time pouring on more of the flammable liquid and not swatting him out right away. Jason began screaming, and his mother ran outside to see what was happening. He was then rushed to the hospital so his burns could be treated.
The “fire challenge” phenomenon has resulted in at least one other serious injury. In 2018, a 12-year-old girl named Timiyah Landers suffered burns over half of her body after dousing herself in alcohol and lighting herself on fire for a “fire challenge.”
Timiyah was wearing perfume and hairspray at the time, which, in combination with the alcohol, caused her to ignite “like a fireball” according to her mother. She was rushed to the hospital and spent several days in the ICU.
Parents are urged to talk to their children about fire safety and the dangers of playing with fire. It is also a good idea to talk to your children about internet safety and “challenges” in general.