Motivational speaker Tony Robbins is hosting a four day seminar called, "Unleash the Power Within" in San Jose, CA and on Thursday at least 21 people were treated for burn injuries after trying to walk on hot coals. Robbins tried to walk on the coals and encouraged his participants to do the same.
Robbins and most of his 6,000 attendees gathered in a nearby park where 12 lanes of hot coals, measuring 10 feet long and 2.5 feet wide, were laid out on the grass and the firewalk began.
That’s when things went wrong and according to reports, at least three people were sent to the hospital, most suffering from second or third-degree burns.
According to Courtney Alovis, a California resident attending the seminar with her husband, Robbins told attendees about the risks and discouraged anyone from participating if they were having doubts.
"I have to say that Tony Robbins spent a good hour plus before we went out to do the firewalk. He stressed that if anyone was having doubts and their minds kept going back to thinking they were going to get burned, they would get burned," she added, "He stressed the risks, he stressed that it's not a magic trick."
In fact, Robbins was so diligent about making his followers aware of the risks of the firewalk, Courtney had a last minute change of heart and opted not to do the firewalk herself.
"He was spending so much time on this, even Will (her husband) and other friends we met here, started to get a bit worried. I had planned to do it, but after doing the prep exercises for that hour plus, and I couldn't keep my focus, I knew inside, I wasn't ready."
Courtney says she went to the edge of the coals and realized she wasn't in the right state of mind to focus to go across without getting burned.
"So I chose not to do it. My husband plus a few new friends from here did it without any burns. And so did 5880 other attendees."
In response to reports that there were "screams of agony," Courtney says that's simply not true.
"There were zero "Screams of Agony." The media is making it sound like we were put in a trance and made to walk across hot coals and it was some torture scene, it couldn't be farther from the truth," she says.
"It's an incredible experience and people who were screaming were in their focused mind and then there were lots and LOTS of cheering and yelling around the group. It was awesome to see!"
Courtney says that the people who were burned, returned to the seminar the next day - fully engaged, smiling and having a great time.
Like most of the attendees, the experience hasn't deterred her from enjoying the rest of the seminar.
"I still have had major breakthroughs from this weekend and we have one more day here today," says Courtney.
Robbins Research International released a statement Friday, saying, “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.”