Chicago Fire Department Issues Warning About Hand Sanitizer in Hot Cars

The warning comes in response to a recent car fire

As people try to keep their hands clean amid the coronavirus, the Chicago Fire Department warned the public Saturday of the dangers of carrying hand sanitizer in cars.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise to constantly keep hands and surfaces clean to prevent from the spread of COVID-19, CFD said leaving hand sanitizer in cars is a potential fire hazard.

In Waukegan, a neighbor recently noticed a family's car on fire with the dashboard in flames and called the fire department.

After responding to the incident, officials said the fire was caused by hand sanitizer left in a hot vehicle and warned against keeping it in cars during the summer months.

"While the hand sanitizer bottle was the cause more than the contents, we just want people to remember to store it safely in their cars and in their homes — out of direct sunlight," said Lt. Todd Zupec with the Waukegan Fire Department.

Hand sanitizer fires are rare, but possible, according to the National Fire Protection Association. And with more people using sanitizer due to the coronavirus pandemic, fire officials want to make sure people are aware of the dangers.

"I just kind of panicked at the same, you know, just opened the door from the other side and all the smoke started coming out, and I noticed the dashboard was on fire," he said.

And because the fire was sparked by a flammable substance, Rodriguez said, his insurance won't cover the damage.

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