The aftermath is posted to social media sites and firefighters, police officers, and media sources have spoken out against the dare game which has become to be known as the Fire Challenge. In a Fire Challenge, flammable liquids are applied to the person’s body, typically while standing in a shower, then set aflame while being video recorded. When the pain becomes unbearable, the participant then quickly douses the flame before any severe damage can be done to the person’s body.
However, many who participate in a Fire Challenge panic and run. This provides additional oxygen to the fire and enhances the spread of the flame. In other instances, the participant fails to consider the dangers of the accelerant used. Writing for the Washington Post Caitlin Dewey noted “YouTube has known its fair share of dangerous, destructive and ill-advised trends, but even by those standards, the “fire challenge” hits new lows.”
One of the first fire challenge videos uploaded to YouTube is titled “Fire challenge” and was uploaded on April 5th, 2012, by YouTuber 1BlazinEagle1. The video features a young man lighting his chest hair on fire. It quickly gained over 100,000 views. On April 7th, 2013, Viner RolandConstantino introduced the hashtag #FireChallenge to accompany Vines that involve bringing a flame in contact with the person’s body. On May 25th, 2013, YouTuber Freddiee Bryant uploaded a video titled “The Hand Sanitizer/Fire Challenge” in which a young boy sets his hand on fire using hand sanitizer. On June 24th, 2013, YouTuber 1BlazinEagle1 uploaded another video titled “Nuts & Chest Fire challenge” which featured a group of men lighting their chest hair, leg hair and pants on fire.
By 2014, multiple serious incidents had occurred around the United States. In early 2014, a Buffalo, New York boy died from burns he received during a fire challenge. In July 2014, a 15-year-old Kentucky boy received 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his face and body, nearly dying from his wounds. When asked why he participated in such a stunt, he replied, “I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking, really.”