DALLAS -- Approximately 40 participants attending a Tony Robbins seminar downtown suffered minor burn injuries late Thursday after walking across hot coals in what is being described as a motivational event.

Trainers for Robbins' motivational seminars told News 8 walking on coals is a very emotional experience for people, and that participants were doing something they didn’t think was possible.

But we saw just how painful a reality that exercise was for a large group of people attending the “Unleash the Power Within” seminar in Dallas Thursday night.

Several ambulances were staged outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Paramedics treated dozens of people from the sold-out program for burn injuries to their feet and legs.

Five people were taken to the hospital.

The smoldering coals in a dumpster after Tony Robbins' "Unleash the Power Within" seminar.
The smoldering coals in a dumpster after Tony Robbins' "Unleash the Power Within" seminar.

Conference volunteers said walking on hot coals has become a regular activity at Tony Robbins seminars across the world. News 8 spoke with witnesses who said some were distracted while walking across the coals.

"From my observation, there was someone in front of us and someone behind us on their cell phone, taking selfies and taking pictures,” said Jacqueline Luxemberg, who completed the fire walk. “[She asked others] to video record for her, so I think that that has a lot to do with it."

An estimated 7,000 people walked across the coals Thursday night.

Dallas Fire-Recue spokesman Jason Evans said Friday had all "necessary permitting in place to conduct the operation which led to the multiple burn injuries."

"They had a Fire Watch, which is made up of two Fire Prevention Officers who are on scene to monitor the event for compliance. They also had (in addition to a privately contracted EMS service) a DFR EMS contingent (two paramedics and one rescue unit) on location at the event," Evans said.

He said Dallas Fire-Rescue would have no further investigation into the event.

The “Unleashing the Power Within” conference is in Dallas for three-and-a-half days.

Evans issued the following statement about the incident overnight:

"On Thursday, just after 23:00 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas Fire-Rescue assigned multiple resources to an event which resulted in an unknown number of "burn victims".

Apparently, as part of a motivational event being held at the location, several people attempted to walk across hot coals. As a result, a large number of these people sustained burn injuries to their feet and lower extremities.

As many as 5 additional rescue units and two EMS Supervisors, among other resources, we're assigned to help manage the situation. In addition, a DART bus was requested to help at least hold some of the, approximate 30-40, patients who were being evaluated. The severity of the injuries were unknown, but most people elected not to be taken to the hospital. However, 5 people were taken to a local hospital, by DFR, for evaluation of their injuries."