Girl, 14, dies after DIY popcorn maker explodes

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Apparently, the victim and her friend had seen a viral clip teaching viewers how to make popcorn using a drink can...

A girl in China died from severe burns on 5 September 2019, after her attempts at imitating a popcorn making trick went horribly wrong.

According to Chinese media, 14-year-old Zhou and her 12-year-old friend, Peng, had seen a viral clip teaching viewers how to make popcorn using a drink can.

The two then proceeded to do the same by placing corn kernels in an empty aluminium can and lighting alcohol in another aluminium can that was placed below it.

Due to its high alcohol content, the alcohol exploded when Zhou attempted to light it. Both girls suffered severe burns on the spot.

The two were immediately taken to hospital. Results showed that Zhou suffered burns on 96 per cent of her body and had to be kept under observation in the intensive care unit. Peng managed to scrape by and was not in critical condition.

The incident took place on Aug 22, 2019, but doctors' efforts to treat Zhou's injuries proved futile and she died two weeks later.

Many netizens believe the two girls had been imitating a video by a popular influencer known as Office Chef Ms Yeah.

In one of Ms Yeah's early videos, she was seen cutting open an aluminium can in a similar fashion and making popcorn in her handmade contraption.

www.facebook.com/OfficeChef.MsYeah/videos/1467718349918610/

After the teens' accident, angry Chinese netizens took to sending Ms Yeah death threats and called her a murderer in the comment section of her videos.

Ms Yeah broke the silence in a long letter posted on Weibo on Sept 10.

The past few days had been the darkest days of her life, she wrote. In response to the current situation, she promised to take responsibility for Peng's treatments and would do everything she could to ensure that Peng's family received the help they needed.

She also clarified that the two girls had not been imitating what she had done in her video. In her video, Ms Yeah used a teapot warmer to slowly heat up the can of corn kernels, which had been carefully propped up on the tripod of the tea warmer.

popcorn maker explosion

Whereas, evidence from the scene of the accident showed that the two girls had used two cans, one of which had been cut in a peculiar way.

popcorn maker explosion

The 25-year-old suggested the girls could have been referencing a different video, as she herself had seen a video with similar instructions that was posted back in 2016, a year before she had shared her own.

popcorn maker explosion

The original video involved cutting the aluminium can the same way the girls had done, before precariously balancing another can on top of it. Ms Yeah explained that she had found the original method too dangerous, therefore she opted to use a tea warmer instead. 

She ended her letter pleading for netizens to not label others as murderers.

This article was republished with permission from AsiaOne.

Also READ: Gas stove explodes in woman's home, son suffers second-degree burns

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