by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The St.Kitts & Nevis Fire & Rescue Services is encouraging youth in the Federation to desist from partaking in a fire challenge that is trending globally.
The fire challenge entails the placing of flammable liquid, such as rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer on the body and setting fire to it.
During the debut programme of ”Fireproof ” on WINN FM on Friday, January 27, 2023, Fire Sub Station Officer II Rommel Williams explained the danger and effects associated with the fire challenge. He revealed that there is evidence that Kittitian youths are also engaging themselves in the challenge.
“This particular one is not a new challenge. It’s been around since 2012, but it has resurfaced; especially here in St. Kitts since there were some videos that went viral with St.Kitts teenagers actually taking part in the challenge” Williams disclosed.
He added “I saw the video this year. Last week I saw the video. I don’t know how long it was up but it looks like a recent video based on the persons who I saw. I know one of the teens in particular and it cannot be a long time video. It has to be recent.”
Williams explained how fire responds to the presence of alcohol and the effects it can have on the human body.
“Now, what we want [people] to understand is that alcohol in particular, based on our research, burns at 1,000 degrees. It only takes 130 degrees for your skin to burn. So what you have is teenagers, they are putting alcohol on their hand, they will light it and only when it starts to burn, you will see a reaction and they’ll try to get it out. What happens is, it will not burn you at first, because the fire is consuming the alcohol. As you know, alcohol is cold. [The fire] would consume the alcohol and then start to work on your skin.”
Research has proven how dangerous it is to participate in the fire challenge, expressed Williams. He shared the story of a 12-year-old in Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States who was severely burnt during the challenge.
“We did research and we found out that one of the things that social media will not show you is that there were persons who suffered as a result of this challenge and if you don’t do your research, you wouldn’t know that. There is a particular child, I think it’s a 12-year-old in Spartanburg who did that challenge, poured alcohol on his body and lit his body on fire. What resulted is that 40 percent of his body was severely burnt. He ended up in a burn centre in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), critically burnt, as a result of that challenge.”
Williams added, “Now one of the things that the Fire Marshall- Mr Hall said, based on the research we did, he said if this alcohol or whatever products are produced by the burning gets into the muscle tissues, it can damage those muscle tissues and leave you with lifelong injuries that would require lifelong surgeries.”
Notwithstanding that parents may be unaware of their children’s participation in the fire challenge, the Fire Sub Station Officer pleaded with parents to have a serious conversation with their children about the negative effects that can occur as a result of the fire challenge. Equally, Williams admonished teenagers in the Federation to be wise and prudent, expressing that partaking in the fire challenge is not a sensible decision.