Firefighters warn of dangerous TikTok trend after outlet scorched at Mass. high school

Two students are facing criminal charges after participating in a viral video challenge that prompted a fire response at their high school


Patriot Ledger Staff
The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.

PLYMOUTH, Mass. — Two Plymouth North High School students are facing charges after performing a viral internet video prank.

The students were caught performing the prank after they scorched two electrical outlets in a classroom on Tuesday using a penny and a phone charger.

A scorched electrical outlet at Plymouth North High School. Firefighters say students damaged the outlet participating in a viral challenge on the video app Tik Tok, which involves sliding a penny onto the prongs of a plugged-in phone charger. (Photo/Plymouth Fire Department)
A scorched electrical outlet at Plymouth North High School. Firefighters say students damaged the outlet participating in a viral challenge on the video app Tik Tok, which involves sliding a penny onto the prongs of a plugged-in phone charger. (Photo/Plymouth Fire Department)

Plymouth firefighters were called to the school at about 12:15 p.m. and found the pronged part of an iPhone charger that had been blackened and scorched. A penny was fused to the prongs of the charger, and an electrical outlet in the back corner of the room was scorched.

A teacher told firefighters that the students had plugged the charger in and dropped a penny down between the outlet and the charger, causing the outlet to spark and smoke. The teacher also said the students had done it twice in a matter of minutes in the classroom.

Firefighters found there was no fire in the classroom, which was deemed to be safe. No one was injured, according to officials.

The Plymouth North students face charges of burning a building, property destruction and disorderly conduct, as well as additional school discipline. The Plymouth Police Department and State Fire Marshal's Office were notified and are investigating the incidents.

Videos of the prank have been posted on the smartphone micro-video app, TikTok. The prank 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, according to the State Fire Marshal's Office.

The State Fire Marshal's Office said the Plymouth incident is at least the third time in which this prank has caused damage in the state.

One student at Westford Academy started a fire inside the school on Friday forcing an evacuation, and is now facing charges. Another incident happened at a home in Holden.

The Norfolk County Fire Chiefs Association and State Fire Marshall Peter Ostroskey are warning parents to discourage their kids from trying the prank.

"Alert them to this challenge, advise them to, not only look for signs of fire play like scorched outlets, but to have conversations about fire and electrical safety with tweens and teenagers," Ostroskey said in a statement.

Material from WCVB was used in this report.

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©2020 The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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