Officials issue public plea after teen injured in Facebook fire challenge

by: Stephanie Coueignoux Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte emergency responders are making a public plea after a teen set himself on fire and posted it on Facebook.
Police arrested the teen's mother Monday on charges of allowing him to do it.
Channel 9 knocked on Janie Talley’s door, but nobody answered.
A neighbor said she’s instilled the dangers of fire in her 8-year-old grandson.
“Don't play with fire. Don't play with lighters. Don't play with matches. Don't play with any kind of fire,” she said.
It’s a lesson Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is asking more families to teach their children.

They've been tracking an online trend called the fire challenge. It's when someone pours flammable liquid over themselves, sets themselves on fire, and then uploads the video to Facebook.

WARNING DISTURBING VIDEO: Teen sets himself on fire

“Now, it's growing into even more with these individuals simply trying to mimic dangerous activities for notoriety or publicity or whatever they're seeking," said Capt. Jacquelyn Hulsey.
This comes after police said Talley not only let her son take the challenge; they said she was in the same room when he videotaped himself.
Tracy McFaddee had this to say about if he found any child trying to set themselves on fire: “I would whup them and take the lighter and be like, 'Don't do something you see on Facebook!'”
Channel 9 learned two boys in North Carolina were so badly burned taking this challenge, they had to have surgery.  One is from Johnson County, the other from Onslow.
Eyewitness News was told one of them is still in the hospital.
Ernest Grant, with the North Carolina Burn Center, said they're just 12 and 14 years old.

"Both of them stated something to the effect of ‘I never know fire could be that hot. I never thought about the consequences of what could happen,’” he said.
Police are asking parents to track their children's online activity.

“A kid is going to be a kid, but if you let them do that and condone it, you don't do anything, you're in the wrong anyways,” TJ said.
Emergency responders in Charlotte said they’re speaking with other fire departments across the country to come up with a plan to try and stop this disturbing trend.