Hand sanitizer left in car leads to fire in Illinois, firefighters say

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WAUKEGAN, Ill.– The Waukegan Fire Department in Illinois is urging people to not keep hand sanitizer in their cars due to the risk of fire.

Firefighters responded to a car fire Thursday afternoon. A preliminary investigation revealed the fire appeared to be caused by a small bottle of hand sanitizer that was left on the dashboard.

“The owner had been refilling with 80% alcohol sanitizer that was supplied by their employer. It appears sunlight shining through the windshield onto the sanitizer was enough to cause ignition,” the fire department said on Facebook.

Photos from the fire show the aftermath of the indecent. The dashboard was badly melted and the windshield was covered in soot.

By the time firefighters arrived, the fire was out. They said the owner sprayed some water through a hole in the windshield but it likely was extinguished due to lack of oxygen.

“The Waukegan Fire Department is aware of other incidents similar to this happening as more and more people are using a higher alcohol concentration hand sanitizer due to our current pandemic,” the department said. “As the heat of summer is near we STRONGLY recommend that hand sanitizers not be kept in cars.”

Below, you’ll see how quickly a car can heat up. Indiana State Police Sergeant John Perrine and deputy chief Michael Pruitt did a demonstration in their cars Thursday. 

Not even 10 minutes in, the temperature in sergeant Perrine’s car shot up to over 100 degrees. 

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