Santa Ana Teen Suffers Severe Burns After Setting Himself On Fire Following Internet Trend
A 16-year old Santa Ana boy suffered second- and third-degree burns in a foolish attempt to participate in what is supposedly the latest Internet trend parents are panicking over: the "fire challenge."
Fire fighters responded to a call at Santa Ana residence on Friday afternoon after 2 p.m. after the teen, identified as Fernando Valencia, poured nail polish remover on his chest and lit it on fire. Valencia suffered second- and third-degree burns on his neck, face, and hips, and may require skin grafts according to ABC 7.
Know Your Meme describes the fire challenge as the latest in "pain endurance" videos where participants record themselves pouring or applying a flammable substance (such as nail polish remover, hairspray, or hand sanitizer) to their skin and setting themselves on fire. The videos are uploaded to social media sites like Vine or YouTube and participants essentially 'dare' each other into seeing who can last the longest. Captain Larry Kurtz of the Orange County Fire Authority would recommend against such activity, telling the OC Register that alcohol-based substances are particularly dangerous because they burn at such a high temperature.
"It's sort of the equivalent of of putting gasoline on yourself," Kurtz said.
Valencia described his ordeal to ABC 7, saying, "Being burned alive is one of the worst things you can imagine." He said he was inspired to partake in burning himself after seeing others 'fail' on the Internet, but the flames got out of control. "The screams were just horrific. My brothers were scared," he added.
As a result of his ordeal, Valencia has since posted a video on YouTube warning others of the obvious danger of setting yourself on fire. (Attempts to locate this video were unsuccessful.) "I wouldn't wish it on nobody, it's extremely painful. It's not a good idea... nothing you want to try," he told ABC 7.
Although there have been multiple reports recently of people injuring themselves across the country attempting the challenge, fire crews had never responded to such a call before in Orange County. "This was a first for us... setting your skin on fire for nothing else than someone dares you," said Kurtz.