Texas mom severely burned after hand sanitizer catches fire


A Texas woman continues to recover in the ICU after her hand sanitizer allegedly caught fire while she was trying to light a candle. CBS station KHOU-TV reports Kate Wise was left with severe burns on her entire body.

Wise, who lives in Round Rock, told the station that on Sunday she put on a hand sanitizer that she keeps to protect herself and three daughters from coronavirus. But when she lit a candle, her hand caught fire.

"It can be something as small as lighting a candle," Wise said. "Because of the hand sanitizer, it just lit my whole ... everywhere I had hand sanitizer on my hand, it just lit my hand with fire."

Coming up at 6-- Hear from a #RoundRock woman near #Austin as she recovers in the ICU. Kate says the hand sanitizer she had put on caught fire while trying to light a candle. It left her with severe burns. #KHOU11 pic.twitter.com/BknOZEta1E

September 3, 2020

Wise said the flames made contact with the off-brand sanitizer bottle and it exploded.

"And it obviously went all over my face. And, in like a matter of five seconds, my whole body was just consumed in flames," she said.

Wise said her two youngest daughters ran to neighbors to get help. She said she managed to get her burning clothes off of her and get her disabled daughter and pets out of the house.

The Round Rock Fire Department is investigating the cause of the fire.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Wise with medical expenses. She hopes by raising awareness others will stay out of harm's way.

"It's something that you never want your kids to see," Wise said. "Like, you just being up in flames so I think that part kind of killed me just because it's something I never wanted them to have to go through."

Experts have warned that flammable liquids and direct sunlight can make hand sanitizer explode. "It's flammable and it's an irritant," retired Dallas firefighter Sherrie Wilson told CBS DFW.

The Food and Drug Administration has also been urging U.S. consumers to avoid a growing list of hand sanitizers that may contain toxic substances. The agency has also warned of another problem: Some brands may not be strong enough to kill the coronavirus.

Some of those sanitizers also contain methanol, which is used to make fuel and is dangerous when absorbed through the skin, inhaled or ingested. The lack of potency is one of the reasons the FDA's list of sanitizers that people should avoid, which was expanded this week to about 100 brands and nearly 150 varieties.

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