Fire departments stress dangers of TikTok ‘penny challenge’
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s no shock that kids can make some not so wise decisions to get attention. Some of them may have seen a new so-called 'challenge’ that is circulating on social media, and is dangerous if imitated.
If you are an adult, you may not be that familiar with the app TikTok. The app allows users to share short videos from their phones, which can be seen and shared by millions.
A popular trend on the app are ‘challenge videos’, which feature unique dares that are often easily imitated. The new ‘penny challenge’ dare could spark an electrical fire and firefighters are warning of the danger.
The challenge involves sliding a penny behind a partially plugged-in phone charger. The coin will strike the metal prongs, causing sparks, electrical system damage, and in some cases fire.
“It’s simple enough to say don’t do the stupid stuff but, you gotta have a conversation and explain what the hazard is,” Louisville Fire Department Major Bobby Cooper said. “What it does is cause an intense spark, and with that intense spark you get all kinds of hazards, just the intense electricity, the intense amount of heat that it can cause to create a fire.”
Major Cooper said debris can come off from the spark that can cause serious injuries.
“It could injure a kids face, potentially an eye or ear,” Major Cooper said. “Kind of like a sparkler or fireworks so there is a tremendous amount of danger there.”
When the penny hits the prongs of the charger, it creates heat that could start a fire behind a wall without you knowing. It’s something law enforcement is taking seriously. Several students in Michigan and Massachusetts are at the center of an investigation for starting fires at their schools from this ‘challenge’. Some are even facing charges.
“There is a potential for criminal liability, if you take the steps to do it and cause the damage, you are responsible for it,” Cooper said. “It’s common sense but as you say it’s not so common.”
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