WAUKEGAN, Illinois — With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, most people carry hand sanitizer everywhere, but one fortunate woman says be careful where you keep it. The combination of a liquid in a clear bottle sitting directly in the sun caused a fire in her car.
A neighbor noticed the smoke and started banging on doors.
“It looks like I have tinted windows,” said Kimane Hall. “Unfortunately, I don’t. It’s just the smoke that was in my vehicle.”
The inside of her car is badly melted, charred and crisped. The windshield is black and splintered.
“Flames, it sparked it up high,” she said.
At first she didn’t know her car was on fire until neighbor Eduardo Salgado came knocking.
“We pulled up, and I saw the windshield was on fire,” he said. “Who knows? It might would have blew up. Who knows?”
“I’m very thankful for him because if he didn’t come knocking my car could have exploded,” Hall said.
She scrambled to get the garden hose, but that didn’t work.
Her husband put out the flames before Waukegan firefighters arrived.
“The sanitizer was on top of the dashboard where the sun was directly was hitting it,” she said
It was a plastic bottle of what Hall said was 80% alcohol hand sanitizer baking on the dashboard.
“I have kids, and I have to keep my car as sanitized as I can for my kids,” she said.
The bottle of sanitizer combined with the direct heat from the sun strong was enough to start a fire, said the Waukegan Fire Department.
“It’s getting hotter. Something could happen to other people and I feel happy that I experienced this to show my experience to other people just to warn them,” Hall said.
The Waukegan Fire Department says any plastic bottle with liquid left in direct sunlight has the ability to spark. As we all carry more hand sanitizer with us people are urged not to keep it out in cars.
By Charlie De Mar