Fire officials are warning the public after hand sanitizer sitting in a vehicle ignited a fire Thursday afternoon in Waukegan.
The Waukegan Fire Department responded around 12:45 p.m. Thursday to the 400 block of Pioneer Road for a report of a vehicle fire.
Waukegan Fire Marshal Steven Lenzi said that the fire was out by the time firefighters arrived. The vehicle owner had sprayed a small amount of water through a hole in the windshield.
Lenzi said that nothing inside the vehicle was wet, giving the impression that the fire went out due to lack of oxygen.
A preliminary investigation was completed and the fire appears to be caused by a small bottle of hand sanitizer that was left on the dashboard, Lenzi said.
“It appears sunlight shining through the windshield onto the sanitizer was enough to cause ignition,” he said.
The vehicle owner had been refilling the bottle with 80% alcohol sanitizer provided by their employer.
“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 in a statement.
Fire officials urge the public not to keep hand sanitizer in vehicles during the summer.