A 15-year-old Pine Hills, Fla., boy is suffering from second-degree burns after he and a friend were reportedly playing the “fire challenge,” in which participants douse themselves in flammable liquid and then light themselves on fire.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Robert Seals went to a friend’s house near his home Monday. Police say that Robert and two other children, ages 15 and 12, were reportedly attempting the fire challenge, a stunt made popular by videos of people who usually stand in a shower or near a pool before lighting themselves on fire and then posting the video to YouTube.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jane Watrel told the Sentinel that around 7 p.m. Monday, Robert reportedly doused himself in rubbing alcohol and asked one of the other children present to light him on fire.
“He ain’t doing … stupid stuff like that,” Robert’s aunt Lisa Oliphant told the newspaper.
She added that Robert lives with her and is into martial arts and basketball, not reckless activities. “My nephew was hollering, ‘I’m on fire! He [set] me on fire!’” she said.
Oliphant had her nephew take off his shirt while she called 911. The dispatcher had her douse the boy with cold water while she waited for the paramedics to arrive. He was rushed to a local hospital and then flown to a burn unit in Cincinnati.
“His neck … swelled up so bad,” Oliphant said. “My nephew is permanently damaged, and that boy did bodily harm to my nephew. I want something done about it.”
Watrel told the Sentinel that Robert admitted to willfully participating in the fire challenge, which, in this case, according to the teens, was not videotaped. Investigators are still considering whether to bring “culpable-negligence charges against the other two children involved in the incident,” the Sentinel reports.
“The case will be ultimately forwarded to the state attorney’s office for further review,” Watrel said.
Read more at the Orlando Sentinel.