PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Two people in Fayette County have been charged after a teen boy was allegedly challenged to set his buttocks on fire, then was refused treatment for a month, causing his wounds to become infected.
Police say 37-year-old Connie Kirby of Redstone Township convinced her stepson, Tre Kirby, who was 14 at the time, to agree to a “fire challenge,” in which a person sets their buttocks on fire by pouring rubbing alcohol on it and lighting it with a cigarette lighter. She allegedly prodded him to attempt the stunt by calling him a “punk.”
The “fire challenge” is a dangerous game that’s been spreading on social media.
“She asked me if I wanted to play the game,” Tre said. “And I was like, no. So then she called me ‘punk,’ and I’m like OK, so we did it. We went in the bathroom, she poured a whole bunch on my butt and then she lit it on fire.”
Police say Tre screamed in pain while on fire for about a minute until his sister put out the flames with water and Kool-Aid.
“The first time she did it she only put a little bit of alcohol, then it went out real fast. But the second time she put a lot, and I caught on fire,” he recalled.
According to the criminal complaint, he was burned on 16 percent of his body.
Police say Connie Kirby refused to take the boy to the hospital when he asked. The boy’s father, William Kirby Jr., allegedly came home a short time after and also refused to take the boy to the hospital.
Police say he was refused treatment for a month, during which, “his skin bubbled up, filled with fluid, and burst.” They say his wounds then became infected.
The boy’s stepmother allegedly treated the wounds with peroxide and Neosporin, and gave him Tylenol and Xanax, police say.
Police also say it wasn’t the first time the woman convinced the boy to participate in a “fire challenge.”
However, Connie Kirby told police that the children made up the story because they wanted to live with their mother and that the boy was actually injured by standing too close to a burn pile and threw gasoline on the flames.
Tre’s mom, Candra Burkes, found out when she saw the scars on Tre’s legs and claims his father told her, “he said he was riding the lawnmower, it fell over and Tre caught on fire from that.”
Police say medical records from the Pittsburgh Child Advocacy Center at Children’s Hospital say, “The scars that are seen were caused by liquid that dripped between the legs. The stories of being burned by a bonfire or lawnmower are not consistent with the injuries.”
After being charged, Connie Kirby appeared to write on Facebook that, “The kids are out of control. They will pay for this. They did this to their other stepmothers before me.”
Connie and William Kirby face several charges, including reckless endangerment and assault.
“I think that she should suffer,” said Burkes. “I don’t wish bad on anybody, but my son was made to suffer.”
Doctors described “lifetime disfigurement” when referring to his scars.