Fire related mishaps have increased over the past year due to use of hand sanitizers. One such tragic accident took place when a Maryland driver set his car on fire unintentionally after using sanitizer while smoking a cigarette.
The incident took place in Rockville. According to fire officials, the car was engulfed in flames. The vehicle was a “total loss” as the fire spread through it on May 13 at around 5.30pm.
In a video shared by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Chief Spokesperson, Peter Piringer, a helicopter shows the car parked outside Federal Plaza shopping centre in Rockville, north of Washington DC, as firefighters race to unfurl a hose to put out the heavy flames ignited by the dangerous combination.
The unidentified driver escaped without severe burns and was taken to the hospital with minor burns.
According to the official, onlookers present at the scene called 911 and the driver suffered from “1st & 2nd degree burns on his hands & inner thighs.”
While the cause of the flames is being investigated, Pete states that “hand sanitiser & lighted cigarette started fire in an occupied car”, which he described as a “bad combo in unventilated area like a car” in the tweet.
ICYMI (~530p) vehicle fire at Federal Plaza, 12200blk Rockville Pike, near Trader Joe’s & Silver Diner, @mcfrs PE723, M723, AT723 & FM722 were on scene (news helicopter video) pic.twitter.com/TeAynaGsgp
— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) May 13, 2021
After the driver left the store, he applied a “copious amount of sanitiser in his hands” and then “embers from cigarette in his mouth, ignited sanitiser and some clothing.”
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention issued fire safety precautions for using alcohol based hand sanitisers. The website states the ABHS contains ethyl alcohol, which is considered a flammable liquid, “readily evaporates at room temperature into an ignitable vapor.”
Same safety precautions were issued by the Food and Drug Administration urging people to not store the sanitisers near heat or flames.
One of the popular hand sanitiser brands, Purell, also warned its consumers to keep it away from ignition sources and while smoking.