Lawton Boy Injured Performing "Fire Challenge"

Monday, August 4th 2014, 8:06 pm
By: News 9

A dangerous online trend is sweeping across the nation, and now, the "Fire Challenge" is making its way in Oklahoma.

For the challenge, teens simply pour flammable liquids, such as rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover, on their bodies and then light themselves on fire. It sounds bizarre, but the trend is so popular, there are nearly 30,000 videos of it online.

It’s a shocking social media stunt, teens playing with fire and using their bodies as torches. Five weeks ago in Lawton, 11-year-old Devon Amason took on the challenge by letting his friends douse him with body spray and then set him on fire.

"[It was] like there was a thousand bees just stinging me,” said Devon, who had huge blisters on his body. “All of my skin off my chest started just flopping off, it was bad.”

Devon was airlifted to a Dallas hospital where he spent 15 days being treated for his second and third-degree burns covering his chest and neck. During the time Devon did the dare, his mother was away visiting her father. But when she got home, she says she was stunned to see her son’s injuries.

"He was screaming in pain. You couldn't touch him. You can't hold him, you know. There is nothing you could do, nothing anybody could do," said Tonya Amason.

"He can't go outside a lot, can't get hot or wet or open air to it. He missed the entire summer from this dare. They are just doing what everybody else is doing. It's the older people starting these things. Then you're left with all the consequences.”

That's why firefighters are sending a strong warning.

"I don't care if you're in the shower, if you're near the pool, just don't do it. It's just so dangerous," said Maj. Tammy McKinney of the Oklahoma City Fire Department.

"If you were to get burned by this type of risky behavior, it is for life, and you can't take it back. Fire is something you have no control over. You're not talking about one or two surgeries. You're talking about a lifetime of damage, scarring and psychological damage that you can't really repair.”

McKinney says when the chemicals are on fire, the surface temperature is 800 degrees Fahrenheit when it only takes about 135 degrees to see significant burns.

It was a painful lesson that Devon learned the hard way.

"Don't play with fire, fire bad," he said.

Doctors say it could take more than two years for Devon to fully recover from his burns.

The Paul Silverstein Burn Center at Integris Baptist Hospital says it has treated two patients in the last week from the Fire Challenge. Both suffered severe burns, and one was an adult.

In response to the recent challenge, the Oklahoma City Fire Department posted a list of safety tips online.