HOLDEN, Mass. (WJW) -- The Massachusetts Fire Marshal issued a warning about a viral video challenge that has resulted in at least three fires in Massachusetts.
Peter J. Ostroskey wrote in a letter to fire departments about the trend on social media platform TikTok that he calls an “unsafe use of electricity and fire.”
“It involves using the plug part of a phone charger, partially inserting it into the wall outlet, and then sliding a penny down the wall onto the exposed prongs,” Ostroskey writes. “The result is sparks, electrical system damage, and in some cases fire.”
So far the challenge has been linked to scorched outlets in Plymouth and Holden and a fire at Westford Academy. A Westford student who participated in the challenge is facing charges, Ostroskey said.
Firefighters responded to Plymouth North High School at about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday for a report of an electrical outlet that was sparking.
A teacher told firefighters that two students had plugged the charger in and dropped the penny between the outlet and charger causing the outlet to spark and smoke. Photos shared by the Plymouth Fire Department show the penny fused to the charger. No one was injured in the incident.
“The other issue can be that you do damage to some electrical wiring behind the wall and a fire could be undetected and burning in the walls, endangering everyone that's in the building,” said Plymouth Fire Chief Ed Bradley.