Safe Use of Hand Sanitizer Urged After Girl Burned at Hospital

An 11-year-old girl in Oregon was severely injured when she was burned in a fire which may have been caused by a mix of flammable hand sanitizer and static electricity

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An 11-year-old girl in Oregon was severely injured when she was burned in a fire which may have been caused by a mix of flammable hand sanitizer and static electricity. Brian Riley, with the LA County Fire Department, suggests using hand sanitizer in a well-ventilated area, and to be cautious around ignition sources. John Cádiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Feb. 20, 2013. (Published Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013)

    Hand sanitizer is coming under new scrutiny after a young Oregon girl was burned in a hospital and the clear germ-killer is being investigated as a cause of the flames.

    The early February incident left 11-year-old Ireland Lane injured after a fire ignited while the young cancer patient was in her hospital bed. The combination of static electricity and flammable hand sanitizer are a possible cause, NBC News reported.

    The incident occurred at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. Lane was burned over 12 percent of her body and had to have reconstructive skin grafts.

    "I was horrified," said Dr. Stacy Nicholson of the hospital. "That this would happen anywhere, much less our own hospital was just awful. Our hearts go out to the child and her family."

    Some hand sanitizers have a large portion of alcohol in them.

    "It's something that millions of people use every day, but I think it's pretty rare that you have an issue with it," said Brian Riley of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. "It all depends on the amount of the product you're using, and how you're using it."

    If it really was static electricity that caused the fire in Oregon, the conditions had to have been just right.

    Firefighters say that accidental fires with something as common as hand sanitizer are extremely rare. Local firefighters warn to keep anything with alcohol away from children.

    "Use it in a well ventilated area, and be careful around ignition sources," Riley said.

    Ireland's mom, meanwhile, calls her daughter a fighter. Ireland beat cancer, and her mom she'll beat this too.

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