DALLAS (AP) — More than 30 people who attended an event with motivational speaker Tony Robbins have been treated for burns after Robbins encouraged them to walk on hot coals as a way of conquering their fears, Dallas fire officials said.
Five people were taken to a hospital Thursday night, while the rest were treated at the scene for burns to their feet and lower extremities, Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said.
The hot coals were spread outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center as part of a four-day Robbins seminar called “Unleash the Power Within.”
Representatives for Robbins didn’t immediately return messages Friday, but in a statement to The Associated Press organizers said about 7,000 people walked across the coals and only five “requested any examination beyond what was readily available on site.”
“Someone not familiar with the fire walk observed the event and called 911 erroneously reporting hundreds of people requiring medical attention for severe burns,” according to the statement.
Tad Schinke, an event trainer, told WFAA-TV: “We always have a few people that have some discomfort afterwards and we do our best to take care of them.”
One participant, Jacqueline Luxemberg, told WFAA that some people were not concentrating on walking across the coals because they were taking selfies and asking others to take video of them.
Fire officials used a city bus to hold many of the injured people; others were carried to ambulances or back inside the convention center to be evaluated.
Such fire walks are not uncommon at Robbins’ seminars, which can range from about $1,000 up to $3,000. More than 20 people were treated for foot burns after a similar event in 2012 in San Jose, California.
The 6-foot-7 Robbins conducts a variety of seminars and “Unleash the Power Within” is described on his website as “designed to help you unlock and unleash the forces inside that can help you break through any limit,” and those who do the fire walk are instructed to wear pants that can roll up and avoid loose-fitting or long-flowing clothes.
Robbins says on his site that he believes people who perform tasks they once thought unthinkable, such as walking across hot coals, will help them “conquer the other fires of your life with ease.”
Robbins’ celebrity has resulted in crossover appeal. For instance, he played himself in the 2001 comedy “Shallow Hal” starring Jack Black.
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