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Robbins fire walk leaves 21 burned


Fire officials said 21 people at an event hosted by motivational speaker Tony Robbins suffered burns while walking across hot coals, and three of the injured were treated at hospitals.

The injuries took place Thursday during the first day of a four-day event at the San Jose Convention Center hosted by Robbins called “Unleash the Power Within.” Most of those hurt had second- and third-degree burns, said San Jose Fire Department Capt. Reggie Williams.

Walking across hot coals on lanes measuring 10 feet long and heated to between 1,200 and 2,000 degrees provides attendees an opportunity to “understand that there is absolutely nothing you can’t overcome,” according to the motivational speaker’s website.

Robbins Research International said in a written statement that 6,000 attendees of the event walked across the coals Thursday.

Requests for additional information from the Associated Press were not immediately returned.

Organizers had an “open burn permit” and medical staff at the event, and there was also a fire inspector on the scene, Williams said.

“Once they (the medical staff) became overwhelmed, our inspector called for us,” Williams said.

“I just heard these screams of agony,” witness Jonathan Correll told the Associated Press. “People were in pain. It sounded like people were being tortured.”

PBS chief decries funding attack

PBS President Paula Kerger said she’s disappointed that public TV’s federal funding is again under attack by lawmakers.

Kerger said Saturday that the move also is ironic, given the impressive number of Emmy Award nominations earned last week by PBS’ programs, including the popular drama “Downton Abbey.” PBS received 58 nods, second only to HBO and CBS.

Public TV gets 15 percent of its money from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with the rest largely contributed by viewers, Kerger told a meeting of the Television Critics Association.

But some stations get half or more of their funding from federal funds, Kerger said, predicting that a number of them will “go dark” if the money is cut off.

The birthday bunch

Opera singer Licia Albanese is 99. Actress Louise Fletcher is 78. Game show host Alex Trebek is 72. Singer George Clinton is 71. Actor Danny Glover is 66. Actor-comedian-director Albert Brooks is 65. Rock singer Don Henley is 65. Actor Willem Dafoe is 57. Rhythm-and-blues singer Keith Sweat is 51. Actor John Leguizamo is 48. Actor-comedian David Spade is 48. Actress Selena Gomez is 20.


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