Minors hospitalized with burns in the Mat-Su

Officials say minors were burned after using rubbing alcohol and fire, similar to dangerous online challenges
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A generic visual of the TikTok app icon(CNN News Source)
Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 1:58 PM AKDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2021 at 9:33 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Two minors are recovering in the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center after withstanding life-threatening burns after engaging in an activity that involved rubbing alcohol and fire.

Palmer Fire and Rescue initially reported on Wednesday that the incident happened when the minors were attempting an online challenge “found on Tik Tok.” However, they said on Thursday that this was not the case. The fire service added clarification to its original post, saying “the two burn victims were not conducting a challenge at the time of their injuries.”

Chief Chat Cameron said in an interview that first responders were told when they arrived on the scene that the kids had been participating in an online challenge. When asked who gave first responders that information, he said they’re still investigating how the department arrived at that initial assessment.

Cameron clarified that the action the minors were performing with rubbing alcohol and fire was similar to a challenge that can be found online, but that the family later called Palmer Fire and Rescue and said the minors were not actively participating in an online challenge.

Palmer Fire and Rescue still warns against online challenges that involve fire, like those found on TikTok and other social media platforms. Their Facebook announcement reminds readers about the potential dangers of those challenges.

“On television, you often hear, ‘don’t try this at home,’” officials stated in the Facebook post. “This is because most often, professional stuntmen and stuntwomen conducting the stunt or ‘challenge’ are trained, have conducted plenty of research and have plans and professionals in place in the event something goes wrong.”

Numerous online videos show all ages of people attempting dangerous challenges. An Oregon teenager attempted a fire challenge in May, but it left her in the hospital fighting for her life. In their post, Palmer Fire and Rescue linked to a video of a teen drawing shapes on a mirror with a flammable substance and lighting it on fire.

“Do not do a challenge that could affect your health or that of someone else,” the post stated.

Correction: This story and its headline have been changed to reflect that the two minors who were injured were not participating in an online challenge. Palmer Fire and Rescue initially reported that the incident happened during an online challenge, but has since corrected its report after the family of the children contacted them.

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