Fire-eater torches previous world record at renaissance festival

| Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011

Dan Hasselius literally torched a Guinness World Record for fire eating while performing for a crowd Sunday at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival in West Newton, Westmoreland County.

Extinguishing 41 torches in 30 seconds, Hasselius, who appears as Wilsome in his show "Great Balls of Fire," exceeded the standing record by two torches.

"It feels awesome. It feels really great," said Hasselius afterwards. "After 17 years in fire eating and eating a lot of torches I'm very used to having fire in my mouth."

According to the Guinness World Records official website, the current record for most torches extinguished in 30 seconds with the mouth -- 39 -- was achieved by Hubertus Wawra of Germany in Mumbai, India on Feb. 21.

Documentation is being submitted to Guinness World Records Limited in London for authentication.

It took two attempts for Hasselius to achieve his goal.

On his first try he succeeded in extinguishing only 31 torches.

Before starting Hasselius had some concern about the wind that was gusting between 14 and 20 miles an hour.

He was less concerned about possible physical dangers.

"I have been on fire many times," he told those invited to serve as witnesses and timers. "Don't panic. Just focus on your particular aspect. It will just make it more exciting."

Moments after the time trial ended, Hasselius was already looking toward his next goal: "I'd like to go for the 60-second world record," he said.

That record stands at 89 torches and was achieved by Pascal Ackermann of Switzerland in Rome, Italy, on April 1, 2010.

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