12-year-old burns nearly 50 percent of her body doing 'fire challenge'
When Brandi Owens saw her 12-year-old daughter Timayah running down the hallway of their Michigan home engulfed in flames, she became hysterical.
“I hear a pop,” Owens told InsideEdition.com. “Timiyah comes running down my hallway past my bedroom on fire, screaming, ‘Help me!’”
Owens and her fiance quickly jumped into action and got Timiyah into the bathroom and sprayed her down to put out the flames.
“I [was] ripping her clothes off,” Owens said.
Timiyah had been participating in what many are calling the “Fire Challenge,” in which participants cover themselves in a flammable liquid, then set themselves alight and film it before quickly dousing the flames.
In Timiyah’s case, things went terribly wrong when the fire fanned out across her body with alarming speed as her friends, who were going to partake in the challenge themselves, watched in horror.
“She had taken a shower and rubbed herself down with ... spray and lotion [beforehand] and that stuff is flammable as well and caused for the fire to spread all over,” Owens said.
The preteen suffered second- and third-degree burns on 49 percent of her body. She remains a ventilator and has to eat through a feeding tube while she recovers, her mother said. Doctors said she’ll have to have skin grafts in the future.
“The other day she told me she loved me but it was more like me reading her lips,” Owens said. “I asked her if she was in pain. She said yes.”
This isn’t the first case of the Fire Challenge injuring someone. In 2014, a North Carolina mom was arrested after she filmed her son covering himself in fingernail polish remover and setting himself on fire.
The 15-year-old suffered minor burns, but Timiyah was not so lucky.
“I am so angry about the situation because they all knew better,” Owens said. “The other kids [who were there] are traumatized. They aren’t eating.”
Owens is now warning parents, telling them to monitor their children’s phone and internet use.
“Pay a little bit more attention to your kids, especially when it comes to phone, social media and internet,” Owens said. “Talk to your kid. Really stress the importance of life and peer pressure.”
The family has started a GoFundMe to help with Timiyah's hospital bills. It has raised more than $2,000.