Warning after popular TikTok trend dubbed invisible killer leaves couple dead

A dangerous TikTok trend that involves using a high voltage to burn patterns onto wood has led to the tragic deaths of a middle-aged couple.

Tanya Rodriguez, 44, and James Carolfi, 52, were killed in the garage of their Wisconsin home whilst fractal wood burning on April 6.

The pair were electrocuted before their equipment started a blaze at their house, Sheriff's Deputy Chad Billeb said.

Although investigators thought the fire was suspicious at first, they have since ruled out any malice and labelled the deaths as “accidental”.

The deadly practice involves using a high-voltage transformer, often from a microwave oven or a car battery, on a chemical-soaked piece of wood.

It has been banned by the American Association of Woodturners’ safety committee after the sad death of a woodworker in Washington State in 2017.

The group says 33 people have been killed whilst fractal burning.

In a statement on their website they warned: “The reported cases of fractal burning deaths range from hobbyist woodworkers through experienced woodworkers to an electrician with many years experience…

“It only takes one small mistake and you are dead; not injured, dead. Some of those who died were experienced at using the process and some were not. What is common to all of them: fractal burning killed them.

“High voltage electricity is an invisible killer; the user cannot see the danger.”

But despite this, the practice is rife on social media including popular platform TikTok.

Hundreds of videos hosted on the platform show users using electrics to create the lightening-like impact on the wood.

One clip has received over 160 thousand likes and has a whopping 5.4 million views.

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Comments underneath the video seen by the Daily Star include one user asking: “Can you do a video showing how to set this up? Would like to try it.”

Whilst another added: “I want to try do that”.

The Daily Star has reached out to TikTok for a comment.

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