21 hurt in hot coal walk

2012-07-22 14:38

San Francisco - Fire officials said 21 people at an event hosted by motivational speaker Tony Robbins suffered burns while walking across hot coals and three of the injured were treated at hospitals.

The injuries took place during the first day on Thursday of a four-day event at the San Jose Convention Centre hosted by Robbins called "Unleash the Power Within." Most of those hurt had second and third degree burns, said San Jose Fire Department Captain Reggie Williams.

Walking across hot coals on lanes measuring 3m long and heated to between 1 200 to 2 000 degrees Fahrenheit provides attendees an opportunity to "understand that there is absolutely nothing you can't overcome," according to the motivational speaker's website.

Robbins Research International said in a written statement that 6 000 attendees of the event walked across the coals on Thursday.

Requests for additional information from The Associated Press were not immediately returned.

Medical staff overwhelmed

Organisers had an "open burn permit" and medical staff at the event, and there was also a fire inspector on the scene, Williams said.

"Once they (the medical staff) became overwhelmed, our inspector called for us," Williams said.

Witness Jonathan Correll was not attending the event, but when he saw a large crowd gathered on a closed-off surface street near the convention centre, he got off the light rail he was riding to see what was going on.

"I just heard these screams of agony," he told The Associated Press. "People were in pain. It sounded like people were being tortured."

Correll, 25, of San Jose, said he saw three ambulances, about 10 to 15 people on the ground being treated by paramedics and some people being wheeled away on stretchers.

"It was really just chaos," he said.


Participant Sahar Madani told KTVU-TV that attendees were warned that they might get burns or blisters.

"The intention of the event is to get your focus and your attention away from that and look into the power within yourself and focus on just walking on the fire," she told the station.

Robbins, 52, who bills himself as an entrepreneur and "peak performance strategist," has written five books that are published in 14 languages, and has sold more than 40 million audiotapes of a professional development system dubbed "Personal Power," according to his website.

His infomercials have continuously aired on average every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day somewhere in North America since their initial introduction in April 1989, the website says.

Robbins Research International said Friday, "We have been safely providing this experience for more than three decades, and always under the supervision of medical personnel ... We continue to work with local fire and emergency personnel to ensure this event is always done in the safest way possible."

Williams did not have any additional details, such as the ages or names of those hurt.

  • David - 2012-07-22 14:50

    Walking hot coals to help boost your focus is the biggest load of rubbish is just motivational speaker mumbo jumbo to make money....since when is burning your feet a good thing ? and if it was then burn yourself in other places to 'focus' EVEN MORE...Don't do it...that's it....

      Alfjoe - 2012-07-22 15:11

      This dude is making a lot of money by burning pple's feet, hahahaha!

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-22 15:15

      Look it its easy you just walk like this over coal ppl...look.."ei oe aa AA AA AAAAA my f-king feet aaaa.... AAAA" I have no feet AAAA.... Stupid if you ask me...

      dawood.timol - 2012-07-22 17:03

      the American public are the most gullible..just ask their government.

      sharon.a.marks.9 - 2012-07-22 17:58

      idiots,they deserve it

  • NickvanderLeek - 2012-07-22 15:26

    I've always had a lot of respect for Tony Robbins - I didn't realise he was resorting to this sort of gimmickry to sell his motivation tapes.

      dawood.timol - 2012-07-22 17:04

      or maybe u just realised what a fool u've been for so many years

  • joe.peters.56 - 2012-07-22 16:07

    Only truly religious people with genuine, unwavering faith can accomplish this feat unscathed. I have witnessed Hindu devotees do the same thing and not even get a blister.

      wesleywt - 2012-07-22 17:08

      Cool the coals and do it a lot then you can think you have faith. If people are going to just give money away for this rubbish, they might as well give it to me.

      abram.spamers - 2012-07-22 17:22

      From what they claim 5976 people managed it without any injuries. this wasn't a religious event...

      james.rossouw - 2012-07-22 21:45

      So what you are saying Joe is that faith will protect you against Hot coals. MMM I have a bridge in Brooklyn NY. Wanna buy it.

  • kent.harding.9 - 2012-07-22 17:47

    If u realy want the big motivational bucks u gota throw sum thumb tacks into the mix.

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