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Dozens treated after fire-walking event

24th July 2012

More than 20 people suffered burns to their feet after they joined thousands of others walking across red-hot coals at a "fire-walk" during a Tony Robbins self-improvement seminar.


The injuries happened as some participants crossed the firepits at Robbins' "Unleash the Power Within" event in San Jose, California.

Among the injured was 18-year-old Madina Kaderi, who suffered blisters during the fire-walk on the fourth and final day of Robbins' series of motivational talks, which participants said they had paid between $600 and $2,000 to attend.

Kaderi attributed her burns to her own fears about being burned, and said she was responsible for her injuries because she "got scared." She said the experience overall was a positive one.

Rescue workers at the scene said that many of those hurt reported second- or third-degree burns.

According to Carolynn Graves, an estate agent from Toronto who crossed the coals without injury, the fire-walk is valued by participants as a metaphor for facing their fears and accomplishing their goals.

She said the people who had burned their feet probably did so because they were not in the right mental state to attempt the fire-walk.

Robbins company also offered self-improvement CDs and DVDs, including a "Total Commitment Package" for $647 and "Love & Passion: The Ultimate Relationship Program" for $249.

Robbins did not comment on the reports, but his coaching company Robbins Research International said in a statement that more than 6,000 attendees had participated safely in the traditional fire walk across hot coals.

It said the company had been running similar events for more than 30 years, and had medical teams standing by in case of injuries.

It admitted that "a small number" of participants on the seminar experienced minor injuries and had received medical treatment for them.

According to Safaa Kaderi, Robbins had spent a long time preparing people for the coal-walking event, and that he was not to blame for any injuries that occurred.

According to the San Jose police, charges will not be brought against Robbins or his company because the fire-walkers had taken part in the event voluntarily.

Police spokesman Jason Dwyer said that no crime had taken place.

Sources close to Robbins said that the fire-walk was not without risk and that people had reported second-degree burns at previous events. They had been advised to soak their feet in cold water for 20 minutes.

He said that the temperature of the coals can reach 2,000 degrees.

Richard Mello, 64, said he had barely felt any sensation when he trod on the hot coals.


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