Dallas | More than 30 people who attended an event with motivational speaker Tony Robbins have been treated for burns after Robbins encouraged them to walk on hot coals as a way of conquering their fears, Dallas fire officials said. Five people were taken to a hospital yesterday night, while the rest were treated at the scene for burns to their feet and lower extremities, Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said.
The hot coals were spread outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center as part of a four-day Robbins seminar called Unleash the Power Within. It’s a regular part of some of Robbins’ seminars; more than 20 people were treated for foot burns after an event in 2012 in San Jose, California.
Paul Gold of West Palm Beach, Florida, suffered second-degree burns on both feet that will take about two weeks to heal, he told The Associated Press today from a burn unit. It was the second time he’s walked on hot coals; the first he described as a very good experience at a Robbins seminar a few months ago in Florida.
He said the difference yesterday was that it appeared staff members didn’t allow the coals to cool enough before adding more to the pile, which was about 3 to 4 feet wide and about 20 feet long. He realized halfway through his walk over the coals that he’d suffered burns. In hindsight, jumping off would have been a fantastic idea, he said.
But when you’re in the spirit of the moment, you’re kinda focused on one task. After his walk, Gold, 44, said it felt like someone had taken a hot iron and pressed it against my feet.
He also said he saw a girl who was crying and others complaining of burns; his fiancee had minor burns. I’m not even sure I could do it again, because now I have this massive fear of fire, he said, adding later that he still believes Robbins helps a lot of people and that it was staff members who weren’t following directions properly.
In a statement to the AP, representatives for Robbins said about 7,000 people walked across the coals and only five requested any examination beyond what was readily available on site. Someone not familiar with the fire walk observed the event and called 911 erroneously reporting hundreds of people requiring medical attention for severe burns, according to the statement.