Boy (12) suffers extreme burns after performing 'fire challenge' as part of internet challenge
Kids across the US have been burning themselves since at least 2014
Social media communities were awash with videos of people from all walks of life enduring the sweltering cold of the Ice Bucket Challenge - an effort to raise awareness for the neurodegenerative disease, ALS.
But US teens are embracing a viral stunt at the opposite end of the thermal spectrum, called the “fire challenge”, and it has become a dangerous pastime with no apparent purpose beyond the flames.
A 12-year-old boy is left with severe burns in New York City is the latest victim of the fire challenge, as he was unable to extinguish the self-inflicted fire set on his body, the New York Post reports.
The object of the game is to douse oneself in rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover in close proximity to the bathtub or shower, then immediately put out the fire after it is lit. But the boy was unable to do so, resulting in third-degree burns on more than 40 per cent of his body.
Police did not release the name of the victim, but he was listed in critical condition in the Nassau University Medical Center Burn Unit.
The craze has been around for at least two years, as stories of teens and pre-teens across the US burning themselves sprouted up at local news stations.
In 2015, a 15-year-old Robert Seals from Florida was flown to a medical centre in Ohio after suffering severe burns on 20 per cent of his body.
“I see the little boy walk up and gush something on him and then flick,” his aunt, Lisa Oliphant told News 6. “I see the little flick, and then my nephew's running down the street on fire.”
Fernando Valencia, 16-years-old at the time, told Los Angeles’ ABC affiliate that he could not see anything through the flames on his body.
“You just see fire, you can’t really see nothing,” he said. “Since I saw other people fail, I thought I could do the same thing but actually last longer under the flame.
“I can't really say nothing else besides it was a dumb idea.”