A Portland, Oregon family is picking up the pieces after what they believe was an attempt to recreate a TikTok "fire challenge" landed a teenager in the ICU with severe burns on May 14.
Destini Crane, 13, was in the family's apartment bathroom when a fire broke out, creating a dangerous inferno.
“It was unreal. Heartbreaking," Kimberly Crane, Destini’s mother, told KPTV in Oregon. "I don’t think anyone wants to see their daughter on fire. It was horrible."
Crane's family believes she was attempting the TikTok "Fire Challenge," which involves spraying a design onto a mirror using a flammable liquid and lighting it on fire.
"Her friend was yelling, 'She was filming TikToks, she was filming TikToks'," Destini's sister, Andrea, shared with KPTV, adding that her sister's face, neck, chest, hair and right side of her body were on fire. "There was a capped bottle of alcohol sitting on the counter, and the whole side of it had busted open, and there was a lighter and broken candle. So, that's just kind of the conclusion we came to."
TODAY Parents reached out to the Crane family but did not hear back.
Robert Garrison, a Portland Fire & Rescue arson investigator, told KPTV that social media trends like these endanger more than just the user.
"You're not only putting yourself in danger; you're putting your entire family and anybody who is in that building in danger," he said.
Since Destini was admitted to the ICU, she has undergone a tracheotomy, and two successful skin graft surgeries.
A May 31 update on a GoFundMe page started by the family to share Destini's story said, "The swelling in her face is almost completely gone, she can open and see with both eyes, use her left hand and she’s starting to form words (even though she can’t talk just yet). We are hoping tomorrow she will move to the burn unit...This is just 1/4th of her long journey but we are so overjoyed to see her pretty eyes and know she can hear us again."
Crane would not be the first teen to attempt a dangerous viral "challenge" and suffer extreme consequences.
In March 2021, 12-year-old Joshua Haileyesus of Colorado died after attempting the "Blackout Challenge," which involves intentionally trying to choke oneself or another person in an an effort to obtain a brief euphoric state.
In Daytona Beach, Florida, two students are facing misdemeanor charges of battery and cyberbullying after a viral video surfaced of their attempt at the "Skull Breaker Challenge," a social media dare in which two people trick a third into leaping into the air so they can knock them down.
Dangerous dares have been around forever, and social media challenges carry their own set of dangers.
“There are risks of pretty severe injuries," Jennifer Hoekstra, injury prevention specialist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, told TODAY Parents. "There are also risks of pretty minimal injuries, but we can't predict which one we're going to have."
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