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Teen sets himself on fire in Santa Ana, suffers serious burns

Crime
16-year-old sets himself on fire in Santa Ana, suffers serious burns
16-year-old sets himself aflame, apparently as part of 'fire challenge,' officials said.
Social media 'fire challenge' apparently spreads to Santa Ana where teen suffers burn injuries, officials say

A 16-year-old teenager suffered first- and second-degree burns Friday after authorities say he attempted to set himself on fire, possibly in an attempt to complete a challenge being disseminated on the Internet, officials said.   

The boy, who was not identified, had poured rubbing alcohol across his chest before lighting himself on fire, according to Capt. Mike Summers, of the Orange County Fire Authority.

The teen was transported to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana with burns on his face, neck and hips, and was in “moderate” and “stable” condition Saturday, Summers said.

Investigators didn’t specify how the 16-year-old lit himself on fire, but Summers said rubbing alcohol reacts to fire “similar to gasoline.”

Paramedics responded to the 900 block of South Standard Avenue in Santa Ana about 2:20 p.m. Friday where witnesses on scene said the teen had previously watched so-called fire challenge videos on YouTube. In such videos, people put flammable materials on their bodies, and then attempt to light themselves aflame without causing serious injury.

“This is one of the first calls we responded to with this social media craze,” Summers said. “This is an entirely new twist.”

The Orange County Fire Authority conducts a Fire FRIENDS Program, which includes education-based classes on the dangers of fire, Summers said -- though it was not clear whether the 16-year-old would be asked to enroll.

matt.stevens@latimes.com

Follow @MattStevensLAT for Westside coverage and breaking news

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