More than 30 people were treated for burns Thursday night after walking on hot coals at an event hosted by self-help guru Tony Robbins, fire officials said.
Dallas Fire-Rescue responded to multiple calls about “burn victims” — some who needed to be hospitalized — around 11 p.m. local time following the motivational speaker’s “Firewalk” at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
Those hurt sustained burns to their feet and lower extremities from walking across the burning coals, said Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans. Five people were taken to a hospital for further evaluation, although the severity of all of the injuries was unknown.
A Dallas Area Rapid Transit bus was requested to help hold some of the patients for evaluation, while rescue units and EMS supervisors were assigned to manage the situation, Evans said.
The “Firewalk” exercise is the first event in Robbins’ weekend seminar, “Unleash the Power Within,” which his website says tries to help people “break through any limit and create the quality of life you desire.”
For the walk, the barefooted participants are required to go at a "normal direct pace," according to the website. It was unclear if the pace of their walk caused the burns.
“Walking over those hot coals is a symbolic experience that proves if you can make it through the fire, you can make it through anything,” according to Robbins’ page.
Robbins Research International, the marketing arm of his businesses, said Thursday night that "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 statement confirmed that five of the 7,000 participants had to be examined off-site: "We are pleased to have completed another successful fire walk for 7,000 guests and look forward to the remainder of an outstanding weekend with them.”
This wasn't the first time multiple people were hurt during one of Robbins' hot coal walks.
In 2012, more than 20 people were treated for foot burns at his "Firewalk" in San Jose, California. Many of the injuries sustained were second- and third-degree burns.