PLYMOUTH, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts fire officials are warning about a dangerous viral video trend after a series of fire incidents across the state caused by people trying to replicate the video.
The "challenge," demonstrated in the video above, involves plugging a phone charger into an outlet, then sliding a penny down the wall and onto the exposed prongs of the charger. It causes the outlet to spark and smoke, can damage electrical systems, and could even lead to fire.
State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey released an advisory Tuesday afternoon about the viral challenge, advising fire chiefs across the Commonwealth to spread awareness about the video. That release mentioned two known local incidents involving the challenge: One in a home in Holden, and another at Westford Academy, which resulted in a fire. The Westford incident resulted in charges against the student who started the fire.
Two outlets in a classroom at Plymouth North High School that were damaged as a result of the challenge. (Plymouth Fire Department)
Hours after that release went out, the Plymouth Fire Department said they had to respond to Plymouth North High School after two students performed the penny challenge in a classroom there.
A teacher told the responding firefighters that her students performed the TikTok challenge twice in the classroom in a matter of minutes, leaving two outlets scorched, but luckily not resulting in a fire.
"These actions are extremely dangerous and could potentially start a fire and cause thousands of dollars in property damage," Plymouth Fire Chief Edward Bradley said in a release. "It could also cause serious injury to anyone who is nearby. These actions are also grounds for criminal charges. Luckily no one was hurt today, but we urge parents to talk to their children about this troubling trend and tell them how dangerous it is to themselves and others."
Chief Bradley shared electrical fire safety tips, and urged parents to talk to their children about the dangers of online challenges and trends.