San Jose fire officials say 21 people suffered second and third degree burns while walking across hot coals at a Tony Robbins conference.
The incident took place during the first day of a four day event entitled “Unleashing the Power Within” at the San Jose Convention Center. Robbins, a motivational speaker and self-help author, provides participants this opportunity to “understand that there is absolutely nothing you can’t overcome,” according to his website. The hot coals reached out on lanes 10 feet long and 1,200 to 2,000 degrees hot.
Reggie Williams, San Jose Fire Department Captain, said that organizers of the event had an “open burn permit,” a document allowing outdoor fire, and also trained medical staff on hand. There was a fire inspector on scene as well.
“Once they (the medical staff) became overwhelmed, our inspector called for us,” Williams said.
Participant Sahar Madani told local television station KTVU-TV that attendees were warned that they might get burns of 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,” Madani told the station.
Jonathan Corell was riding the light rail when he noticed a large crowd gathered on a closed-off street near the convention center. He wanted to see what was going on. “I just heard screams of agony. People were in pain. It sounded like people were being tortured,” he told The Associated Press.
Correll, 25, said he saw three ambulances, approximately 10-15 people on the ground being treated by paramedics, and some people getting wheeled away on stretchers.
Three of the injured were treated at hospitals.
Robbins, 52, has written five books, sold over 40 million audiotapes, and was ranked among the “Top 50 Business Intellectuals in the World” by Accenture’s Institute for Strategic Change. His infomercials have aired an average of every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day somewhere in North America since their introduction in April 1989, according to his website. He describes himself as an entrepreneur and “peak performance strategist.”
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.”
The names of those injured have not yet been released.
Tony Robbins Firewalking Event Leaves 21 Suffering
Tony Robbins Firewalking Goes Wrong