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Dangerous 'Fire Challenge' Game Trends Among Teens On Social Media; South Bay Fire Officials Issue Warning

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Santa Clara County health officials Friday warned of the dangers of a national trend called "The Fire Challenge" where teens voluntarily light themselves on fire and post videos of it on Facebook and other social media.

Officials from the county Fire Department, emergency medical services and the Burn Center at Valley Medical Center are speaking out against the practice that has badly burned several teens in the United States, according to medical center spokeswoman Joy Alexiou.

Videos of children taking the "challenge" and burning themselves have been uploaded to Facebook and the video site YouTube, Alexiou said. Other websites have posted compilation videos of the fire challenge.

People with the false notion that rubbing alcohol does not burn human skin or using other accelerants to set themselves ablaze risk first, second and third degree burns and months of recovery in a hospital, according to Alexiou.

A 15-year-old boy in Buffalo died of his injuries after reportedly participating in the fire challenge. Another 15-year-old boy in Kentucky who learned of the stunt on Facebook and was badly burned when he tried it, Alexiou said.

San Jose Fire Department spokesman Capt. Cleo Doss said that the department has not received any calls about victims of the fire challenge but he has seen online videos of teens trying it.

"It's not a smart thing to do," Doss said. "It could lead to any kinds of injuries and death."

"If it's a lot of flames, it can singe the lungs," Doss said. "It can turn into something big, and for what?"

© Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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