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Fire Challenge is a dare game in which the participant voluntarily sets oneself on fire for a short period of time by applying flammable liquids or igniting combustible parts of one’s body and filming the outcome, similar to other pain endurance challenges that have spread through the social media, such as the Eraser Challenge and the Hot Pepper Challenge.
One of the first fire challenge videos uploaded to YouTube is titled “Fire challenge” and was uploaded on April 5th, 2012, by YouTuber 1BlazinEagle1. The video features the YouTuber lighting his chest hair on fire. As of July 2014, the video has gained over 100,000 views.
On April 7th, 2013, Viner RolandConstantino introduced the hashtag #FireChallenge to accompany Vines that involve bringing a flame in contact (or near contact) with your body. As of July 2014, the Vine has gained over 1,000 loops.
On May 25th, 2013, YouTuber Freddiee Bryant uploaded a video titled “The Hand Sanitizer/Fire Challenge,” in which a young boy sets his hand on fire using hand sanitizer (shown below, left). On June 24th, 2013, YouTuber 1BlazinEagle1 uploaded a video titled “Nuts & Chest Fire challenge” which featured a group of men lighting their chest hair, leg hair and pants on fire (shown below, right). As of August 2014, the original upload has been removed.
Media coverage of the challenge increased in late July of 2014, after satirical news site News Nerd published an article on a fictional death due to the game on July 24th. Also in late July 2014, a teenager in Lexington, Kentucky was hospitalized for his injuries suffered from attempting the challenge.
Since rising to popularity on YouTube and Vine, numerous instances of unsuccessful attempts at the fire challenge have been documented and shared on video-sharing sites. On July 29th, LiveLeak user Schubertfan uploaded a video titled “Fire Challenge Gone Wrong” in which a young man is seen suffering from self-inflicted burn injuries after dousing his torso in nail polish remover and setting himself on fire (shown below). The same day, the video was submitted to the /r/videos subreddit, where it gained over 1,800 votes (85% upvoted) and 640 comments, and it was subsequently featured in articles reporting on the latest “alarming teen trend” from Bustleand The Washington Post.
On August 11th, 2014, the Charlotte Observer reported that North Carolina resident Janie Lachelle Talley had been arrested for helping her 16-year-old son make the fire challenge video, charged with contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. Police determined Talley had helped record the video after a witness contacted the Department of Social Services. In the coming days, several news sites published articles about the arrest, including The Daily Dot, The Huffington Post,ABC News, Daily Mail, Yahoo,Examiner and MTV.
The Daily Dot – Teens are lighting themselves on fire for online fame
The News Nerd – Boy Dies After Participating in the FaceBook Fire Challenge
The Washington Post – Kentucky teen gets burned after mimicking ‘fire challenge’ he saw online
Charlotte Observer – Mom arrested after son participates in social media#