21 Set Selves Ablaze in Cleveland—for Charity

Participants in fundraiser wore protective gear

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 21, 2013 6:54 AM CDT

(Newser) – On Saturday night, some 1,500 people gathered near Cleveland's Cuyahoga River to watch nearly two dozen locals literally set on fire. In a charity event backed by Cleveland printing company Hotcards, 21 people, including mayoral candidate Ken Lanci, a local radio host, and Hotcards' owner, wore gear to protect them from the flames; materials were soaked with special gel, WKYC notes. They walked and waved as they burned for 32 seconds before being extinguished, setting a new Guinness World Record, the Plain Dealer reports. "It was a little gratifying,'' says one woman who set her husband on fire. "Not really. To pour the (lighter) fluid all over and then to light it was pretty scary."

While some said they felt nothing, others felt a little warm, the paper notes. The event raised money for the Cleveland Foodbank and a nonprofit fighting poverty in South Africa, Brick by Brick. It was organized by Ohio stuntman Ted Batchelor, who was also in charge of the earlier record of 17 people simultaneously on fire. "It's all about bringing positives to Cleveland, and if we have to set ourselves on fire to do it, then so be it," said radio host Archie Berwick.

A screen grab from WKYC video of the event.
A screen grab from WKYC video of the event.   (WKYC video)
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Local news reports on the people set ablaze.   (WKYC)

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