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.
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, a Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman said.
As part of a four-day Tony Robbins seminar called Unleash the Power Within, the hot coals were spread outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Paul Gold of West Palm Beach, Florida, suffered second-degree burns on both feet that will take about two weeks to heal, he told The Associated Press on Friday from a burn unit. It was the second time he’s walked on hot coals; the first he described as a “very good experience” at a Robbins seminar a few months ago in Florida.
He said the difference Thursday was that it appeared staff members didn’t allow the coals to cool enough before adding more to the pile, which was about 3 to 4 feet wide and about 20 feet long. He realized halfway through his walk over the coals that he’d suffered burns.
“In hindsight, jumping off would have been a fantastic idea. But when you’re in the spirit of the moment, you’re kinda focused on one task.
I’m not even sure I could do it again, because now I have this massive fear of fire.“
He still believes Robbins helps a lot of people and that it was staff members who “weren’t following directions properly. After his walk, Gold, 44, said it felt like someone had
“taken a hot iron and pressed it against my feet.“
In a statement to the AP, representatives for Robbins said about 7,000 people walked across the coals and only five “requested any examination beyond what was readily available on site.” He said in a statement,
“Someone not familiar with the fire walk observed the event and called 911 erroneously reporting hundreds of people requiring medical attention for severe burns.“
The fire walk is a voluntary experience and trained medical staff is on hand, according to Susan Thompson, a spokeswoman for Robbins Research International. She said in the decades that the fire walk has been part of events, very few have suffered any extensive injuries.
Robbins says on his website 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.“
And if you get burnt, you did it wrong? (T/Y; via AP)