Twelve-year-old Timiyah Landers from Detroit was severely injured Friday while attempting to participate in the latest in a series of potentially deadly internet “challenges.”
In the “fire challenge,” people pour flammable liquids onto their own bodies and set themselves ablaze. The activity may sound ludicrous and self-evidently dangerous, but many children are drawn to such stunts in a bid for internet immortality.
Landers was fortunate that her mother Brandi Owens was nearby. She rushed to her daughter, who “looked like a fireball,” and began “reaching through the fire” to remove her burning clothes. After extinguishing the flames, she rushed her daughter to the hospital where the second and third-degree burns covering 49 percent of her body are now being treated.
Of course, Owens is understandably upset by the trend toward these dangerous stunts. “When they look on YouTube, they see, ‘Oh okay, wow, I want to try that, the outcome with him was okay,’” she said. “Some kids know their right from their wrong, but they can still be curious to try something, to say that they tried it.”
Addressing sites like YouTube that host such videos, she continued: “They need to delete this mess. It should be censored. That’s nothing that a kid should come across. I could have lost my baby; by the grace of God she’s alive. If I wasn’t home, I would have walked in to my baby dead.”
A GoFundMe page has been launched to help cover Landers’ medical costs.