Ireland Lane, Oregon Cancer Patient, May Have Caught On Fire Because Of Hand Sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer May Be Behind Oregon Cancer Patient Catching On Fire

UPDATED Feb. 21: CBS News reports that olive oil, static electricity and hand sanitizer collectively were the cause of the mysterious fire that burned Ireland Lane.

"We found that given the mixture of the olive oil and the hand sanitizer on the cotton shirt, it was like a candle wick that was easily ignited by the static that was in the bedding and clothing in her room," Dan Jones, the deputy state fire marshal, said at a news conference, as was reported by CBS News and the Associated Press.

For more on the story, click over to CBS News's report.

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Eleven-year-old cancer patient Ireland Lane, who was in the hospital after she fell and hurt her head at school, is recuperating from third degree burns after her shirt lit on fire in her hospital room -- and according to reports, hand sanitizer may have been to blame.

The Oregonian first reported on the incident, which occurred Feb. 2 at Doernbecher Children's Hospital. According to the newspaper's report, Ireland's father, Stephen, was sleeping in his daughter's hospital room when he heard her screams. He found her in the hallway, her shirt on fire, and immediately took action to smother the flames.

His daughter still suffered third degree burns and is now recovering from those at the Legacy Oregon Burn Center, ABC News reported.

The Oregonian reports how hand sanitizer may have played a role in the whole incident:

Ireland was due to leave the hospital the day of the fire. The last thing she recalls that day is using sanitizer to clean the table that rolled over her bed, where she had painted a wooden box as a gift for her nurses. Ireland's father recalls that before the fire, she was playing, making static electricity with the sheets on her bed. He’d never heard of that being a danger, let alone causing a fire.

Hand sanitizer and static electricity "are definitely part of the investigation," Oregon State Fire Marshal spokesman Rich Hoover told NBC News.

"I've been in medicine going back 30 years now and never heard anything like this. And hopefully I never will again," Dr. Stacy Nicholson, who is the assistant chief at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, told KATU.

Staff at Doernbecher, which is considered a Oregon Health & Science University facility, already follows strict fire safety procedures, the Oregonian reported. The maker of the hand sanitizer used by the hospital, called Avagard D, told the newspaper that its product is safe when used as directed.

According to NBC News, the alcohol content in the hand sanitizer used at the hospital is around 60 percent.

Hand sanitizers used for health care purposes are recommended to contain 60 to 95 percent ethanol or isopropanol in order to be effective, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using alcohol-based hand sanitizers to clean hands if it's not possible to wash up with soap and water.

Because of hand sanitizer's high alcohol content, some state fire marshals even have guidelines in properly storing it. In Kansas, the fire marshal recommends that a maximum of 1.2 liters of hand sanitizer be stored in a dispenser in a health-care setting, and that there must be at least four feet between dispensers. And if the dispenser is installed on a wall over carpet, then there must be an automatic sprinkler system installed.

For more on Ireland Lane, click over to The Oregonian's full report on the incident.

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