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New Zealand reality show seriously burns contestant

By Wade Paulsen, 07/29/2003 

According to, a new New Zealand realty show seriously burned one of the contestants during its filming. At the time, the contestant was repeating a stunt -- walking through a wall of fire -- that he had already performed successfully, because the producers wanted to "get a better shot" of it. During the second try, the man's shirt caught fire, and he required skin-graft surgery on his upper body at a hospital in Auckland, NZ. A friend who visited him in the hospital described him as "a really unhappy customer."

The New Zealand Occupational Safety and Health board is investigating the injury, which it said was caused by "pyrotechnic effects." It is not known whether the fire was ignited by the effects going off or by the man getting too close to the flames.

Since some of us live near West Warwick, Rhode Island, we have a strong appreciation for the dangers posed by pyrotechnic devices. Perhaps now the risk will sink in on the other side of the globe as well.

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