DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dozens of people were burned Thursday night after walking over hot coals at a Tony Robbins motivational seminar in Dallas, and at least five of those hurt had to be hospitalized, officials said.
Ambulances were lined up outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center just after 11 p.m.
Five participants with more seriously injuries were taken to the Parkland Hospital Burn Center.
Members of Dallas Fire-Rescue also asked that a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) bus be used as a staging-area for between 30 and 40 people who were less seriously hurt.
According to event organizers, more than 7,000 people attended the event.
Robbins isn’t speaking publicly about what might have gone wrong, but his organization, Robbins Research International, issued a statement that said, in part:
“In Dallas tonight, someone not familiar with the fire walk observed the event and called 911 erroneously reporting hundreds of people requiring medical attention for severe burns. While we are grateful to the quick and robust response from Dallas emergency services, only 5 of 7,000 participants requested any examination beyond what was readily available on 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.”
People who have participated in previous fire walks at Tony Robbins events say it isn’t unusual for there to be some injuries. “From a numbers perspective that amount is negligible,” said fire walk participant Tish Bazil. “I don’t mean to diminish anything that’s happened to anybody, but there are some coaching techniques, really specific strategies, that he gives people.”
The statement by Robbins Research also claimed 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.”
Last night was the first night for Robbins’ “Unleash the Power Within” event. It’s scheduled to run through Sunday.
On tonyrobbins.com the event schedule details the “Turn Fear Into Power” portion of the event and speaks about overcoming the roadblocks of fear.“Storm across a bed of hot coals,” the website says. “Once you start doing what you thought was impossible, you’ll conquer the other fires of your life with ease.”
Tad Schinke, the head trainer for the Robbins’ organization, said the event went as planned. “I’ve been doing events with Tony for 23 years, and while it may not look like that way, this was a successful event.”
This is not the first time people have been hurt at Robbins’ seminars. In July 2012, nearly two dozen people reported being burned after a fire-walking exercise at a Robbins’ event in San Jose, California.
Charles Horton, a master fire walking instructor and owner of the Firewalking Institute, said there’s an inherent risk with walking on hot coals.
“But I believe the most dangerous activity in going to a fire walking seminar is driving your car the event,” he said.
In the thousands of fire walks Horton has overseen, he said on occasion some people will get a blister or first degree burn on the bottom of their feet.
“It’s a first degree burn but we use the term kiss,” Horton said.
The Dallas Fire Department said event organizers had all necessary permits to hold the fire walk.
All participants were required to sign a liability waiver.
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