TikTok Challenge Goes Wrong, Turns Kid Into Human Fireball

By Jason Hall

April 9, 2024

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Photo: Getty Images

The mother of a 12-year-old boy who accidentally set himself on fire is warning others of the dangers of a viral TikTok challenge in which kids use an aerosol can or rubbing alcohol to create a fireball in videos shared on the social media platform.

Tiffany Roper detailed an incident in which her son, Corey, turned himself into a human fireball at their Arizona home in August 2023 while attempting the 'Fireball Challenge' in a new interview with The Sun.

“I jumped out of bed in a panic and raced into his bedroom. He was on fire. His polyester T-shirt had completely melted onto his skin," Tiffany said.

Corey was sprayed down with cold water from a hose in the kitchen until responding paramedics arrived at the family's home and rushed him to Banner Diamond Children's Medical Center, at which point doctors confirmed he suffered second- and third-degree burns to 45-50% of his body.

“I looked up the video on my phone and saw hundreds of them about children who had attempted similar stunts as part of a TikTok challenge, many of which had gone wrong. I was beside myself,” Tiffany told the Sun.

Corey underwent four debridement surgeries, which scrub and clean wounds, and five skin graft surgeries, which involved surgeons taking skin from his thigh and placing it onto the burn areas. The 12-year-old was in a coma for two weeks and claims to not remember attempting the challenge.

“I’ve spoken to him about the challenge, but he can’t remember what happened," Tiffany told the Sun.

A similar incident took place when Nick Howell, 13, suffered burns to 35% of his body while attempting the 'Fireball Challenge' when it initially trended on TikTok in 2020.

"It won't go well," Howell told PEOPLE.com. "I want to tell people not to be a follower, but to be a leader."

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