Called the “outlet challenge,” it involves partially inserting the brick portion of a mobile device charger into a wall outlet and then sliding a penny down onto the brick’s exposed metal prongs. The result is a blast of electrical sparks.
The challenge has caused significant property damage at the Westford Academy, a high school in Westford, Massachusetts. One student is facing charges of burning a building, property destruction and disorderly conduct, reported ABC News’ Boston affiliate, WCVB.
Two students at Plymouth North High School in Plymouth, Massachusetts, scorched two outlets in a classroom after performing the challenge, WCVB reported.
Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostrosky sent a memo last week to the state’s fire districts and schools warning about the dangers of the challenge. The challenge could cause “electrical system damage, and in some cases fire,” he stated.
“It’s not something to play with. It’s dangerous. In the case of this, you can start a fire, you can do electrical damage to your home that costs a lot of money to repair, and you can do serious physical damage to yourself,” Todd Long of Huntsville Utilities told ABC News’ Huntsville, Alabama, affiliate WAAY.
“No one should ever play with electricity or outlets in a dangerous manner,” Frank Dwyer, spokesman for the New York City Fire Department, said in an email to ABC News. “FDNY urges families to talk to their children about fire safety.”
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