Fire officials say more than 30 people attending a Tony Robbins event in Dallas have been treated for burns after the motivational speaker encouraged them to walk on hot coals.
Yesterday started with Robbins tweeting, "Good morning Dallas,Texas! Welcome to Unleash the Power Within!" to his 2.81 million followers. But for many, the day unleashed pain and injury.
Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans says five people were taken to a hospital Thursday night.
The hot coals were spread outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, where Robbins' "Unleash the Power Within" seminar was taking place.
Members of Dallas Fire-Rescue also asked that a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) bus be used as a staging-area for between 30 and 40 people who were less seriously hurt.
A statement issued by Robbins Research International said, in part:
"In Dallas tonight, someone not familiar with the fire walk observed the event and called 911 erroneously reporting hundreds of people requiring medical attention for severe burns. While we are grateful to the quick and robust response from Dallas emergency services, only 5 of 7,000 participants requested any examination beyond what was readily available on site. We are pleased to have completed another successful fire walk for 7,000 guests and look forward to the remainder of an outstanding weekend with them."
On tonyrobbins.com, the event schedule includes the "Turn Fear Into Power" portion of the event, detailing the importance of overcoming the roadblocks of fear. "Storm across a hot bed of coals," the web site encourages. "Once you start doing what you thought was impossible, you conquer the other fires of your life with ease."
Tad Schinke, the head trainer for the Robbins' organization, said the event went as planned.
"I've been doing events with Tony for 23 years, and while it may not look like that way, this was a successful event."
More than 7,000 people participated in the fire walk without injury, and the organization does plan ahead to help people who have some level of pain or discomfort as a result, Schinke said.
The coal-walking venue was set up on a parking lot to the north side of the convention center. The injured could be seen limping back to the convention center to seek treatment, according to people on the scene.
It's not the first time people have been hurt at Robbins' seminars. In July 2012, nearly two dozen people reported being burned after a fire-walking exercise at a Robbins' event in San Jose, California.
The event continues through Sunday.