WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A dangerous dare, just a click away online, could mean devastating consequences. It's a YouTube video trend called the 'Fire Challenge.' In the videos, people light themselves on fire, and record it on camera.
A seven-year-old from Salisbury re-enacted the stunt, and is now recovering from severe burns at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Rondarius Barndhart is expected to spend weeks in the burn unit.
“Three seconds, you know, it's just changed his life,” said his mother, Porshia Walker.
The second grader saw the videos online - of people lighting themselves on fire, or trying to create fireballs with an aerosol can and a lighter. Walker says Rondarius and his brother first tried to light a fire on his hand.
“So their next idea was to spray more on something, which was Rondarius' shirt,” she said, “He lit it and in one light – it went up in flames.”
Walker was at work at the time, but her father was at home. He rushed in to try and put out the fire, but it didn’t go out at first. Then, Rondarius ripped off his shirt.
“He's a pretty boy. He put chemicals all in his hair, and make sure his face is shiny, so he had Vaseline on it,” said Walker, “So I guess when he pulled his shirt off, it lit his face on fire. All this happened while the bus was outside…in a flash."
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Now Walker, a single mom from Salisbury, finds herself at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center with her seven-year-old. Rondarius' face, arm, and hand are covered with 2nd to 3rd degree burns.
“I’m just hoping he comes back to normal and is the same little boy,” his mother said through tears, “It's a cruel world, and I don't want anybody picking on my baby.”
As she prepares to spend weeks at the hospital, Walker cautions other parents, telling them to pay attention to what their kids are watching.
“With anything being on the Internet, our kids are able to get at it. And it's dangerous because, they can act out like my son did,” she said.
Rondarius is expected to recover, but doctors tell his mother he will need skin grafts to treat the severe burns on his body.