Hand Sanitizer Catches Fire, Leaves Texas Woman With Third-degree Burns

A woman suffered severe burns over her entire body when her hand sanitizer allegedly caught fire as she was lighting incense.

Kate Wise, who lives in Round Rock, Texas, is now recovering in an intensive care unit (ICU) and considers herself blessed to be alive, as reported by KHOU.

Wise said that on Sunday she applied an off-brand hand sanitizer to protect against COVID-19, before then trying to light some incense.

"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."

As her arm caught fire, Wise jumped and accidentally hit an alcohol bottle, causing a "bomb-like explosion," according to her friend Kathryn Bonesteel, who has since set up a GoFundMe page for Wise.

One of Wise's three daughters ran to a neighbor who called 911, while Wise managed to get her other two daughters and dog out of the house. Wise is currently recovering from second and third-degree burns all over her body in an ICU in Austin, Texas, and requires major reconstructive surgery.

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

Hand Sanitizer
A bottle of hand sanitizer is placed on a table near an entrance at Dignity Health Sports Park on March 8, 2020, in Carson, California. A woman suffered third-degree burns when her hand caught on fire trying to light incense, after using an off-brand hand sanitizer in Texas. John McCoy/Getty

Bonesteel is warning others against using unsafe products, and is quoted as saying "COVID-19 has brought many unsafe products to our shelves, many of which have not been properly tested and are not safe. Be careful of what you put on your body. Make sure what you are using is FDA approved."

She continued on behalf of her friend, saying: "Kate trusted the product because she purchased it from a store she trusted. Just because you bought something from a store you trust, doesn't mean what they're selling is trusted or safe."

Since the coronavirus outbreak began, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled more than 100 hand sanitizers that include methanol, and more recently, a toxin called 1-propanol.

Last week, the FDA released a warning against confusing hand sanitizer with food and drink, as some products are packaged like edible items.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a news release that "these products could confuse consumers into accidentally ingesting a potentially deadly product.

"It's dangerous to add scents with food flavors to hand sanitizers, which children could think smells like food, eat and get alcohol poisoning."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing hands with soap and water instead of using hand sanitizer when possible because handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands.

But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol can help avoid spreading germs like the coronavirus.

The FDA recommends checking its hand sanitizer list before purchasing or using hand sanitizer to ensure you are not using an unsafe product.

Hand Sanitizer Catches Fire, Leaves Texas Woman With Third-degree Burns | U.S.