Santa Ana teen lights himself on fire for internet challenge

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Sunday, August 3, 2014
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A Santa Ana teenager was injured after lighting himself on fire as part of an internet trend, known as the 'fire challenge.'

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A Santa Ana teenager was recovering Saturday after lighting himself on fire as part of an internet trend, known as the "fire challenge."

Firefighters were called to the 900 block of South Standard Avenue at about 2:20 p.m. Friday when Fernando Valencia, 16, poured nail polish remover on his chest and set it on fire.

"Being burned alive was one of the worst things you can imagine," said Valencia, who thought he could last longer than the failed attempts he saw on YouTube. "It's my fault. I can't say nothing else besides it was a dumb idea."

He suffered second- and third-degree burns on his neck, face and hips, and was taken in stable condition to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana for treatment.

The fire challenge calls for participants to film themselves using flammable liquids to set themselves on fire before putting the flames out quickly. The video is then posted online.

"Anything that you think will give you 15, 20 minutes of fame is not worth the lifetime of scar tissue and pain that you will get as a result of doing any of these activities," Larry Kurtz with the Orange County Fire Department said.

Valencia posted a video on YouTube echoing that warning.

"I wouldn't wish it on nobody. It's extremely painful. It's just not a good idea. It's nothing you want to try," Valencia said.

City News Service contributed to this report.