Woman Severely Burned After Hand Sanitizer Ignites While Lighting Candles

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A mother of two suffered horrific burns to her face, hands, legs and stomach after hand sanitizer ignited, setting her on fire. Katie Wise was getting ready to watch a bedtime movie with her kids when she applied the hand sanitizer, a practice that has become routine during the coronavirus pandemic.

Disaster struck moments later when she lit a candle.

"It just lit my entire hand and forearm on fire," Wise told Inside Edition. "The whole bottle just exploded all over me. My entire body from my hair to my toes was just engulfed in flames. I just remember them screaming and saying, 'Mom's on fire! Mom's on fire!'"

Wise led her kids to safety as the blaze spread to the rest of her home outside Austin, Texas. She is now recovering from the burns.

"I'm in a lot of pain," she told Inside Edition. "Excruciating pain that hurts 24/7."

She also said she "never thought about" the fact hand sanitizer could be flammable. 

But hand sanitizer is the most dangerous right after application as flammable vapors develop, Nassau County Assistant Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro told Inside Edition. 

"As you can see, my hands are starting to dry. And as they're drying and in the drying process, that vapor is coming off of your hands," Uttaro said. "This is the time that you need to be most cautious to make sure that you're not near any type of source of ignition. But it can and it will ignite your hands."

He also said to make sure to purchase a reputable brand and stay away from open flames, including the stove, candles, fire pits and barbecues, while the sanitizer is drying.

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