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Viral video trend causes issue at Massachusetts school, fire chief issues warning



Photo courtesy of Plymouth Fire Department

PLYMOUTH — Chief G. Edward Bradley reports that the Plymouth Fire Department responded to Plymouth North High School today after two students performed a viral video trend that resulted in two electrical outlets being scorched inside of a classroom.

At approximately 12:15 p.m. this afternoon, the Plymouth Fire Department was called to Plymouth North High School, 41 Obery St., for a report of an electrical outlet that was arcing.

Once at the school, firefighters were directed to a classroom where they located the pronged part of an iPhone charger that had been blackened and scorched. A penny was fused to the prongs of the charger.

Additionally, an electrical outlet in the back corner of the room was scorched.

A teacher told firefighters that two students had plugged the charger in and dropped a penny down between the outlet and charger, causing the outlet to spark and smoke.

The teacher stated that the students had done it twice in a matter of minutes in that classroom.

Firefighters confirmed that there was no fire in the classroom and the room was determined to be safe. No one was injured in the incidents.

The Plymouth Police Department and State Fire Marshal’s Office were notified and are investigating the incidents.

The dangerous trend seen on the popular video app, TikTok, involves partially inserting the pronged part of a phone charger into an outlet and sliding a penny down the wall onto the exposed prongs. This action results in the outlet being scorched and can cause electrical system damage and, in some cases, fire.

A similar incident occurred Tuesday in at least one other community in the state and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey released an advisory this afternoon to inform the general public.

“These actions are extremely dangerous and could potentially start a fire and cause thousands of dollars in property damage. It could also cause serious injury to anyone who is nearby,” Chief Bradley said. “These actions are also grounds for criminal charges. Luckily no one was hurt today, but we urge parents to talk to their children about this troubling trend and tell them how dangerous it is to themselves and others.”

Chief Bradley would like to provide the following electrical fire safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration:

Insert plugs fully into sockets.
If you have young children, install tamper-resistant electrical outlets.
Replace wall outlets if plugs do not fit tightly.
Do not overload outlets.
Never force a three-pronged plug into a two-slot outlet.

In addition to electrical fire safety, Chief Bradley would like to remind parents and children to discuss the dangers of certain online challenges and trends and recognizing dangerous activity they may witness on the internet.

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