According to various outlets, 21 attendees suffered second- and third-degree burns at a Tony Robbins event. A source told Gawker that many more were hurt. There were 6,000 people in attendance at the San Jose event. The activity occurred on the first of a four-day retreat entitled "Release the Power Within."
Attendees crossed over 24 hot coal lanes that measured 10 feet long and heated between 1,000 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Carolynn Graves, a 50-year-old real estate agent from Toronto, was one of the few fire walkers who did not get hurt. According to her, the coals represent metaphorically the idea of facing fears and life's obstacles. She also implied that people who had gotten burned had done so because they did not have the appropriate mental attitude.
Madina Kaderi, an 18-year-old in attendance who suffered from injuries from the event, was in agreement with Ms. Graves. She said that she became fearful, but that she was glad that she felt the pain. Kaderi did not seek medical attention from personnel. Kaderi's 16-year-old sister, who was also in attendance, said that Robbins did his best to prepare people for the walk. If they were injured, she said, it could not be his fault.
Tony Robbins is a successful motivational speaker. Since 1989, he has written five books that have been published in 14 languages. He has sold 40 million copies of an audiotape called "Personal Power" that is sold on his website. Participants paid between 600 and 2,000 dollars to participate in the event.
Officials said that none of the injuries sustained were life-threatening. San Jose authorities say that there were medical personnel on site, and that Robbins organizers had obtained all of the necessary permits for the activity.
Robbins Research International said in a statement, "We have been safely providing this experience for more than three decades, and always under the supervision of medical personnel … We continue to work with local fire and emergency personnel to ensure this event is always done in the safest way possible."