WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Twelve-year-old Timiyah Landers suffered severe burns to nearly half her body after attempting a viral and dangerous internet challenge.
- The challenge apparently involved people dousing themselves in alcohol and then setting themselves on fire.
- The “Fire Challenge” is just one of many viral internet dares that have caused injuries and fatalities, prompting Timiyah’s mother to warn other parents and raise awareness.
Brandi Owens, a mother of five from Detroit, was awoken by a loud pop on Friday, after which her 12-year-old daughter, Timiyah Landers, started running down their hallway engulfed in a fireball covering almost her entire body.
Owens recalls to PEOPLE, “She was running down the hallway past my bedroom on fire from her knees to her hair. I just screamed, ‘My baby!’ It was so awful.”
After extinguishing the flames with towels, Owens and her fiancé placed the young girl in the bathtub and sprayed her down with cold water.
Owens, who also burned her hands in the process, stated how “It was so traumatizing to see her on fire.”
Timiyah was then rushed to Beaumont Health. By the end of the night, she was transported to a nearby children’s hospital where she will stay for the next several months to recover from second- and third-degree burns covering 49 percent of her body.
Owens states, “Her vitals are good, but she’s still on a ventilator and feeding tube. They’re slowly trying to wean her off the ventilator. It will be a long recovery. She had surgery and received temporary artificial skin to her burns, but she’s going to need three or four more surgeries and skin grafts.”
Owens was horrified when she learned the truth about the incident from Timiyah’s friends, who were with her when it occurred. The girls were apparently participating in an internet dare that has gone viral over Facebook and YouTube, wherein people douse themselves with rubbing alcohol and then set themselves on fire, hence the term “fire challenge.”
“I was angry, very angry,” Owens says. “I couldn’t believe she would do that, she knows better — I don’t know what she was thinking, doing that crazy stuff.”
Timiyah is not the first to become injured due to viral internet challenges, and the number of injuries and even fatalities keeps increasing as dares grow more and more dangerous.
Her mother is now speaking out to raise awareness, especially as the whole incident was something she never wants to relive.
She warns, “Monitor your kids, monitor what they’re doing. If you can get parental control on their phones, I would recommend that. That way they can monitor what their kids are watching, and talk to them about peer pressure. I’m doing that now with my other daughters, I’m doing that now. It was a lesson learned.”
Timiyah is expected to make a full recovery after her stay in the hospital.