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Local man sets self on fire for world record attempt

Record: Local stuntman attempts to burn his name into Guinness Book of World Records

Posted: March 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.

After being set on fire in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for longest full-body burn without oxygen, Jayson Dumenigo, 31, walks in the parking lot of his business Action Factory in Canyon Country on Sunday. Dumenigo stayed on fire for five minutes and 26 seconds, breaking the old record of four minutes and 43 seconds. As long as h...

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A Santa Clarita Valley stuntman blazed his way into a world record book Sunday, having endured flames to his entire body for the longest time on record.

Jayson Dumenigo, 31, survived at least five minutes and 26 seconds on fire, as a curtain of video cameras on tripods recorded his historic endeavor.

“This was the first time we did a full body test,” he said seconds after his smoking head gear was pulled from his head. “We’ve gone easily over eight minutes with limbs.”

Dumenigo — a trained stunt professional who warns no one should try what he tried — planned to be on fire for eight minutes but stopped on the side of caution, he said.

“Because it takes them so long to get me out of all these layers so that I could breathe instead of pushing it to a point where I would be in trouble, I had them pull me out a little early.”

Dumenigo runs his own company called Action Factory, which sells fire-retardant clothing and gels to professional stunt people.

Before testing his products, he and his wife, Julie, applied to Guinness World Records Ltd., in London, for the rules on validating world records.

On Sunday, shortly after 7:35 p.m., assuming he followed those rules correctly, Dumenigo made fire history for the longest full-body burn without oxygen.

Engulfed

When he was a boy growing up in Val Verde, he once watched a filming of the television show “The A Team.”
Dumenigo wasn’t so much interested in popular actor Mr. T. He was extremely interested in the guy who flipped a limousine, said Dumenigo’s wife, retelling the story.

“‘That’s what they call a stuntman,’” she said her husband was told. “After that he was all about stunts, and fire became his speciality.”

Sunday’s bid to break the record is the latest in a long career of stunts.

In the parking lot of an industrial row on Santa Clara Street in Canyon Country, a crowd of about 40 friends, family members and stunt professionals formed a circle in front of Action Factory’s garage.

Dumenigo’s two young daughters Alexandra and Paige played nearby, over the shoulders of crew members brandishing industrial-sized fire extinguishers and long-nozzled fuel sprayers.

A tarp with photos of men with their heads and torsos on fire was draped over the door of the stunt company’s garage.

Dumenigo emerged from the tarp dressed head-to-toe in protective gear, set to break the existing on-fire record, which his crew said stands at four minutes and 45 seconds.

As the sun set, onlookers were told to take five steps back.

At about 7:30 p.m., a masked figure stepped out from behind the tarp.

Dumenigo — his entire body covered with a protective fire-resistant gel, wearing two layers of fire-retardant clothing — walked straight-legged to the center of the parking lot.

A crew member with a pail and a paintbrush coated him head-to-toe with a kerosene-type fuel.

When the painter finished and backed away, a crew member with a welding torch took his place.

Two others with fire extinguishers stood nearby.

The man with the torch set fire to Dumenigo's lower left leg and, within a couple of seconds, his entire body was ablaze.

Fire walk

He began walking slowly in a circle as if walking around a car.

“Thirty seconds,” one crew member yelled, loud enough for Dumenigo to hear, updating the time every 30 seconds.

After the three-minute mark, workers sprayed Dumenigo with fuel to keep him lit.

Whenever he headed west during his circular walk, the wind swept flame away from the front of his body.

Dumenigo said afterward that this was the only point in his circular-walking that he was able to breathe, holding his breath for the remainder of each cycle when flames swept up in front of his face.

He wore a protective cloth mask fitted with Pyrex goggles.

When one worker sprayed his chest with fuel as he approached the breathing point in his walk, Dumenigo said loudly: “Not my front.”

When the crew member yelled, “four minutes, 43 seconds,” witnesses of the fire history applauded.

To learn more about the record-breaking event, visit the stunt company’s website at www.afstunts.com.

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