Lit cigarette, hand sanitizer ignite major car fire in Maryland

A sedan is shown in Rockville, Md., after a cigarette ignited some hand sanitizer and set the vehicle on fire on May 13, 2021. Peter Piringer/Twitter

Don’t smoke and sanitize.

Firefighters are warning the public not to mix lit cigarettes with alcohol-based hand sanitizer, after that combination ignited a dramatic vehicle fire in the parking lot of a shopping mall on Thursday in Rockville, Md.

The driver was holding a lit cigarette in his mouth and slathering his hands with “copious amounts of hand sanitizer” just before the fire, according to Montgomery County Fire spokesperson Pete Piringer.

“While working sanitizer into his hands, embers fell from (the) cigarette in his mouth, igniting sanitizer and some clothing.”

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Aerial footage from the scene shows the car completely engulfed in flames and billowing a column of thick smoke on Thursday afternoon, as fire crews rushed to put it out.

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The car was totally destroyed in the blaze, according to Montgomery County fire officials.

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The driver escaped the fire with minor burns, authorities say. He was transported to hospital for treatment.

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