Dozens of people were burned this week at the "hot coals" walk that huckster Tony Robbins is known for (see here.) Robbins markets himself as the nation's "#1 Life & Business Strategist". He has garnered for himself an impressive client list that spans the political, sports as well as the glamour world. With no formal education, he became well known from his television infomercials and self-help books: "Unlimited Power", "Unleash the Power Within" and "Awaken the Giant Within." In 2007, he was named in Forbes magazine's "Celebrity 100" list. Forbes estimated that Robbins earned approximately US$30 million in that year.
No stranger to controversy, Robbins:
- was charged by the Federal Trade Commission on misrepresentation of potential earnings to franchise investors.
- was sued for copyright infringement and plagiarism.
- One chapter of "Unlimited Power", called "Energy: The Fuel of Excellence", is dedicated to a discussion of health and energy. The National Council Against Health Fraud wrote a highly critical review of the chapter.
- In July 2012, the San Jose Mercury News published a story reporting that multiple people had been burned and hospitalized during one of Robbins' firewalking events on July 19, 2012
- Robbins divorced his first wife after 14 years of marriage and was accused of adultery before marrying another woman.
- People have burned their feet when they remained in the fire for too long, enabling the thermal conductivity of the embers to catch up
- One is more likely to be burned when running through the embers since running pushes one's feet deeper into the embers, resulting in the top of the feet being burnt
- Foreign objects in the embers may result in burns. Metal is especially dangerous since it has a high thermal conductivity
- Embers which have not burned long enough can burn feet more quickly. Embers contain water, which increases their heat capacity as well as their thermal conductivity. The water must be evaporated already when the firewalk starts
- Wet feet can cause embers to cling to them, increasing the exposure time