Waukegan warned residents after hand sanitizer ignites in car

Hand sanitizer ignited in car in Waukegan

An Illinois fire department is warning residents following the blame being made on sunlight shining into a vehicle for a bottle of 80% alcohol sanitizer catching fire, charring the inside of a car, and then blackening the windshield.

The Waukegan Fire Department posted images on social media, concluding that a small bottle of hand sanitizer was left on the car’s dashboard. Their initial investigation concluded that “it appears sunlight shining through the windshield onto the sanitizer was enough to cause ignition,” according to the statement made by the fire department.

But the department added in an update after the social media post gained attention online that such a fire could start not only with sanitizer, but with other bottles of liquid kept in direct sunlight.

The warning comes a month after the Western Lakes Fire District published a viral photo of a burnt car to social media, noting that hand sanitizer can explode if heated. But that department soon after removed the image and said that the photo hadn’t been taken by them, nor that exploding sanitizer led the damage.

The fire department recommends putting sanitizer bottles within the glove box or somewhere out of direct sunlight. “As the heat of summer is near we STRONGLY recommend that hand sanitizers not be kept in cars,” the fire department noted.

Hand sanitizers have seen a surge in sales since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, leading some grocery chains to limit sales per customer.

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