Fire Chief to Teens: Don't Light Yourself on Fire - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fire Chief to Teens: Don't Light Yourself on Fire

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The "Fire Challenge" is making its way around Facebook, and worrying Eastern Iowa Fire Officials.

Teenagers light themselves on fire and post the video on the internet.

"What they're doing is taking a flammable liquid, pouring it on the chest, and lighting itself on fire," said Cedar Falls Fire Chief John Schilling.

He it's an incredibly dangerous action, for so many reasons.

"Everyone knows that heat rises and so flames," Schilling said. "Your airway, mouth and nose are the perfect avenue for the super heated gases to go in your airway and down into your lungs."

Schilling said teenagers have been injured across the country, so the Iowa Association of Professional Fire Chiefs is asking parents to intervene.

In the videos, sometimes, the fuel is nail polish remover, lighter fluid, or even gasoline. Either way, the danger is there.

"Look at the amount he's putting on, the amount of flammable liquid is nuts," Schilling said.

Usually, participants are able to put the fire out in a few seconds, but if it gets out of control or spreads to the structure, it can be deadly. NBC News reports that at least teenager has been killed, which doesn't sit well with parents in Iowa.

"It's very stupid, they don't care about their life," said one Waterloo woman. "It's precious, why would you want to set yourself on fire?"

Many have trouble understanding the draw of the challenge.

"I think what I attribute most of it to is the drawback of social media and the trending of issues," Schilling said.

It's the viral nature of it's that so scary to some.

"It's like who had enough persuasion over them to make them want to do something like this," said another Waterloo mother and grandmother. "I know it's a challenge, but what do you get out of it?"

Schilling said before you take the challenge, consider the consequences.

"You have second and third degree burns that you have to scrub the skin," Schilling said. "You think the burns are painful, go through that and see what pain is."

Schilling said if you have questions, contact a local fire official.

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