Florida teen badly burned in 'fire challenge'

Robert Seals suffers burns to arms, back

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A teen badly burned trying to perform a dangerous game known online as a "fire challenge" is now on life support at Arnold Palmer Hospital, according to his family.

Robert Seals, 15, will be flown to Cincinnati on Tuesday for treatment of his severe burns, his aunt, Lisa Oliphant, said.

"All his skin is off, arms peeled, hair burnt," said Oliphant, who watched another teen light her nephew on fire Monday around 7 p.m. near their home on Forestdale Drive in Orlando. "I see the little boy walk up and gush something on him and then flick. I see the little flick, and then my nephew's running down the street on fire."

Orange County deputies said Seals has burns on 20 percent of his body, but is in stable condition after neighborhood teens were playing a "fire challenge" seen all over the Internet. In cases all over the country, videos show people dousing themselves with a flammable liquid, then setting themselves on fire before putting out the flames. Instead, the dangerous trend has sent people to the hospital.

Esther Ruiz lives in the neighborhood and said, "I'm scared for my daughter to be playing out here knowing kids are lighting other kids on fire. It just doesn't make sense to me."

In this case, deputies said Seals doused himself with rubbing alcohol, then dared a friend to light a match and put it to his clothes.

For the time being, deputies do not plan to arrest the other teen who lit Seals on fire. OCSO said they are exploring the possibility of culpable negligence charges but the case will be forwarded to the State Attorney's Office to decide.

"That's crazy, but he still should be held accountable," said Oliphant of the other teen. "He did bodily harm and the boy's big enough to know right from wrong."

According to a release from OCSO, the victim statements to investigators indicated that he willingly and voluntarily participated in a Social Media "fire challenge" that involved rubbing alcohol and a lighter. Both victim and witness statements indicate the victim asked one of his friends to ignite the rubbing alcohol.

The investigation is ongoing.

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