• Pine Hills teen who dared friend to set him ablaze flown to Ohio hospital; charges possible


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A boy was seriously injured Monday after he dared a friend to light him on fire in a Pine Hills neighborhood, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

    Robert Seals, 15, was flown by jet Tuesday afternoon to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Cincinnati, where he's being treated for burns on his shoulder, his neck and his face.

    A group of teenagers was participating in a "social media challenge" in which they dared each other to perform stunts at 7 p.m. Monday on Forestdale Drive, near North Pine Hills and Indian Hill roads.

    The boy doused himself with rubbing alcohol and instructed one of his friends to set his clothes on fire, according to Jane Watrel, an OCSO spokeswoman.

    “The friend did as he was told, and the victim received burns on his arms and back,” Watrel said.

    Seals willingly and voluntarily participated in the challenge, according to victim and witness statements to investigators.

    The Sheriff's Office is exploring the possibility of charging two boys involved in the incident, ages 15 and 12, with culpable negligence.

    "However, the case will be ultimately forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for further review," Watrel said.

    Lisa Oliphant, the boy's aunt, said she saw her nephew running toward her, screaming in pain.

    “I saw the little boy go up, dash something on my nephew and I seen a spark,” Oliphant said. “He was hollering, on fire, running down the street. He didn't tell me what happened. He said, 'He set me on fire. He set me on fire.'"

    Seals' singed clothes were seen laying in the street.

    "My nephew is really burned," said Monica Allen, another of Seals' aunts. "He's really been scared from this, and I just don't know what to say. He's in a bad condition right now."

    Residents who live in the neighborhood said the incident is concerning.

    “I'm scared for my daughter to be playing out here, knowing kids are lighting other kids on fire,” Esther Ruiz said. “You want to challenge somebody to do something? Challenge them to get an education, do something with themselves.”

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