Wisconsin couple electrocuted while using dangerous art method popular on social media

Two people found dead in Marathon County, Wisconsin, earlier this month were accidentally electrocuted, according to sheriff's officials.

Sheriff's Deputy Chad Billeb said 44-year-old Tanya Rodriguez and 52-year-old James Carolfi were electrocuted while they were creating art using a dangerous method called fractal wood burning. The process uses high-voltage electricity to create designs in wood and has gained popularity on social media sites like TikTok.

Homicide investigation update

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During a news conference Thursday, officials say the equipment used for fractal burning caused the electrocutions and started a fire in the garage where the two were found which spread to the rest of the house April 6.

An investigation found that Rodriguez and Carolfi had died prior to the fire, WSAW-TV reported.

The sheriff's office received assistance from the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation, State Fire Marshal and the Marathon County District Attorney's Office.

At least 33 people have died as a result of fractal burning, according to the American Association of Woodturners.

In 2017 the AAW Safety Committee issued a ban against fractal burning after a woodworker in Washington state was reportedly killed while attempting to use the technique.


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