Hand sanitizer & spark catches fire

Published: Apr. 30, 2014 at 3:38 PM EDT
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By Brian Entin

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A West Palm Beach man is recovering from serious burns after he says he spilled hand sanitizer on himself and then tried to light a cigar while driving on Interstate 95.

"I am still trying to figure out how it burned me up this much," Michael Adekunle said.

EMS Chief Brian Lamb with West Palm Beach Fire Rescue says an incident like Adekunle's is very rare. "Hand sanitizer does contain alcohol and is flammable. But as long as it is dry and you rub it in all the way, there is not a problem," Lamb said.

Adekunle says he was able to drive himself to St. Mary's Medical Center while he was burning. "I started trying to fan the fire out and the more I did that the more it climbed up my arm. Eventually it attached to my shirt and that is when the real problem came," Adekunle said.

Adekunle spent over three weeks in the hospital and was transferred to the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Burn Center. "They had to do skin grafts on my legs and attach skin to my arm," Adekunle said.

He warns others to be careful. "Make sure it dries, and it evaporates before you even try to light anything," Adekunle said.

EMS Chief Brian Lamb says he uses hand sanitizer and recommends it to others.

He says it is safe, just be careful not to use too much if there are sparks nearby.

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