Teen sets himself on fire playing viral 'game' in northeast Harris County

A 14-year-old set himself on fire in northeast Harris County Wednesday playing a game that's going viral on social media
A 14-year-old teen set himself on fire in northeast Harris County Wednesday playing a game that's going viral on social media, according to investigators.

It happened at around 3:15pm in the 4400 block of Roving Meadows. An EMS crew found the teen with second-degree burns across his body.

"The patient told investigators that he was playing the "Fire Challenge" game by pouring isopropyl alcohol on himself and igniting it with a lighter while standing in the shower," said Lt. Dean Hensley with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office.

The teen, Michael Symonette, tells Eyewitness News he was taking part in a dare with his sister. His sister said he ran instead of staying in the shower where the water was supposed to help put it out.

"I just started hitting myself," Symonette said.

The teen was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries.

"This 'fire challenge' is a growing problem with teenagers, especially those that follow viral fads on social media," said Fire Marshal Mike Montgomery. "This activity is very dangerous, and could leave lasting scars or permanent injuries."

Symonette says he never saw anyone get hurt. Now they know this is not a game, not a simple challenge -- that the consequences are real.

Symonette's mother, Stephanie Palmer, hopes other teens might see this story and learn their lesson.

"Don't do this, it's not funny, no fun, not cute. I don't understand why they would want to do it," she said.

Michael got lucky, but there have been reports of serious burn injuries across the country and one reported death, a 15-year-old male in Buffalo New, York.
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