Brian Hutchinson’s attempt at good hygiene nearly cost him his head.
When the British taxi driver reached for a lighter left behind by a passenger who recently exited his cab, he didn’t realize his recently sanitized hands would be a fire hazard.
As he flicked the lighter, the spark ignited a “fireball” in the 42-year-old’s hands. The flame quickly spread from his hands, which were still drying from hand sanitizer, to his head, arms and legs.
Hutchinson’s horrific accident comes at a time when fire experts are warning consumers to handle alcohol-based hand sanitizers with extreme caution, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen sales — and scams — related to the hygienic product soar.
Hutchinson said he’s survived “going to hell and back” after multiple operations and skin grafts in almost two months since the incident.
“I noticed there was a dropped lighter in the back seat off my car, I had just sanitized my hands, so I rubbed the palm on my leg to dry them, but the tops of my hands were still wet,” he explained.
“The back of my hand then caught a light, then as I went to open the door to throw the lighter, my other hand caught a light, then there was like a fire ball inside the car that hit my face and went over my head,” said Hutchinson.
The horrifying event “lasted literally seconds,” he added, but changed him for a lifetime.
The essential worker told North News reporters that he had gone into shock before the paramedics arrived, who administered morphine to Hutchinson immediately.
“When that wore off I knew about it — the pain was horrendous,” said the father of two, whose second son was born just five weeks ago, while Hutchinson was being treated for his burns.
Now in recovery after seven weeks in a hospital, doctors have said the driver may have to wear compression garments, to protect his delicate and injured skin from breakage, for potentially years to come.
Unable to work, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family of two young children stay on their feet.
Hutchinson added, “I want to say a big thank you to all the staff on Ward 37 burns unit . . . I appreciate everything they have done for me.”
In September, a Texas woman was “consumed in flames” after lighting a candle with her recently sanitized hands. In the midst of disaster, the mom of three managed to hustle her children, including a disabled daughter who required assistance moving, and pets out of the house despite having just been engulfed in fire.