“It was people seriously hurting, like they were being tortured”

Posted by on Jul 21, 2012 at 7:47 am

Hard to imagine how people wound up being injured while walking across a bed of hot coals. I’m stumped. Anyone know how this could happen?

Amid inspirational talk, chanted mantras and shouts of victory at a late-night firewalking event attended by thousands Thursday came agonized shrieks from followers whose soles were scorched by the superheated coals, witnesses said.

At least 21 people were treated for burn injuries after taking part in the crowning event of the first day of a Tony Robbins function downtown, including at least three who went to the hospital, a San Jose fire captain said.

The people who suffered various second- and third-degree burn injuries were among more than 6,000 who attended the motivational speaker’s event at the San Jose Convention Center called “Unleash the Power Within.”

While they’re unleashing the power within, as a public service reminder, coals typically are used in something called a grill. When they’re hot you place food on a rack above them.

Remember now: DO NOT WALK ON THEM!

After the event, which ended about 11 p.m., the crowd walked across the street to the park, where 12 lanes of hot coals measuring 10 feet long and 2½-feet wide rested on the grass.

Jonathan Correll, 25, decided to check out what was going on when “I heard wails of pain, screams of agony.” He said one young woman appeared to be in so much pain “it was horrific.”

“It was people seriously hurting, like they were being tortured,” he said. “First one person, then a couple minutes later another one, and there was just a line of people walking on that fire. It was just bizarre, man.”

Correll, a San Jose City College student, said he saw between 10 and 15 people being treated. He said he videotaped the scene for about 5 minutes before an event staffer told him to put the camera away.

Because, hey, we can’t have video of these morons scorching their feet. Might discourage other from seeking to unleash their repressed power. And pay to do so.

This Robbins huckster says he’s been doing this for three decades, but authorities suggest walking on 2000-degree coals probably isn’t a good idea.

On the Tony Robbins website, he promotes “The Firewalk Experience,” a process where people walk across coals between 1,200 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

But that’s not something the San Jose Fire Department recommends, Williams said,

“We discourage people from walking over hot coals,” Williams said.

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