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Queens Boy Suffers From Burns On Over 40 Percent Of Body After Attempting Viral 'Fire Challenge'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- First it was ice and now it's fire. The latest YouTube challenge involves people intentionally setting themselves on fire.

It's called "The Fire Challenge" and young people across the country are taking it in droves, CBS2's Elise Finch reported. They pour flammable liquid on their body then set themselves on fire, just for fun.

"It's a little too dangerous just for a YouTube video," Ace Dawson, an Ozone Park resident, said.

On Tuesday night, a 12-year-old in Queens was rushed to the hospital after mimicking the fire challenge in his Far Rockaway home.

According to police, the boy doused himself with rubbing alcohol and used a lighter to set himself on fire. Moments later he ran outside with his upper body still burning and neighbors extinguished the flames.

"I came out and I saw the police car, the fire truck, and the place blocked off with the yellow tape," neighbor Beverly Robinson said.

Police said the boy has third-degree burns on over 40 percent of his body. Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lennox Hill Hospital, said it can take years to recover from the damage done in just seconds.

"The burns penetrate the skin and soft tissue and then involve the muscle. As they penetrate you lose fluid, causing dehydration and it causes all these inflammatory markers that drop your blood pressure and can put you into shock.," Glatter said.

One teen said some of his classmates have taken the fire challenge to get attention.

"I'm just convinced that it's a lot of dumb teenagers looking to be famous on the Internet," Cody Davido said.

"Just to be on YouTube, really? It's sad that this is what it's come to now that social media has pushed kids to this limit where they have to do something as stupid as that just to get some recognition," Jamaica resident Frank Gines said.

Health care professionals suggest parents talk to their children and tell them this is one challenge they should never accept. In addition to severe burns the challenge can lead to infections or even death.

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