Would-be Daredevil Speaks

by Jeff Fleischer

(Sydney Morning Herald, October 31, 2003)

A 39-year-old father who calls himself Mr Inferno is planning another blazing stunt, despite burning himself cycling a bicycle off a Sydney public toilet block roof.

And though police are still considering whether to charge Brian Concannon over Sunday’s flaming flop at Maroubra – and Randwick Council may slap clean-up costs on him – the self-confessed “adrenaline junkie” explained: “My stunt seems like something that came out of Jackass, but only because it went wrong.”

And it went wrong, he says, because he saw the police approaching, making him rush his stunt.

He’d climbed to the top of the toilet block at Maroubra’s Coral Sea Park at 7:40 pm on Sunday, had his teenage son help douse him in petrol, then set himself alight.

“I saw the police coming over and I hurried it,” Mr Concannon said. “I regret that. And I regret doing it with my son filming, him watching me get hurt. I should have just canned it straight away.”

Instead, he missed the pile of mattresses on the ground and broke his left wrist, which meant he couldn’t pick up the bin full of water to douse the flames – so he burnt himself.

Police officers dumped the water on him, and an ambulance took him to Prince of Wales Hospital for treatment, discharging him on Wednesday.

Now he says he’s planning his next stunt – painting a picture after setting himself ablaze for up to two minutes.

He says he’s done stunt training courses and has performed numerous stunts over the years, including 48 while on fire – most carried out in his backyard.

But, despite the training, he admits he’s not professional grade.

“A lot of people enjoy skydiving or base jumping, for example,” he told SMH online. “I just might push it a little further than some other people.”

He claims he holds a number of unofficial records, including the longest fire burn – but as they’ve never been verified he aims to repeat them in a bid to get into the Guinness Book of World Records.

And, like a local Jackass, he wants to make a film.

“I’ve wanted to do a documentary for a long time,” he said. “It’s a very extreme type of market out there right now, with youth snowboarding, skateboarding and doing BMX.”

Mr Concannon, who has his own web site, calls his exploits “practice for bigger and better stunts,” and wants to continue as long as he is physically able, despite the danger.

“Years from now, if you see a guy doing stunts with a walking stick, that’s probably me,” he said, though he does stress: “The last thing I want is someone trying to copy me.”

Meanwhile Randwick council is investigating whether Mr Concannon violated the Local Government Act by lighting a fire in the open and performing on public land without a permit.

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