Round Rock mother suffers severe burns after hand sanitizer starts house fire

A Round Rock mother of three is recovering from severe burns after her hand sanitizer started a house fire.

Kate Wise was released from Dell Seton Medical Center’s ICU Thursday night after spending five days recovering from severe second and third-degree burns. What happened Sunday night she’ll never forget. 

Wise finished watching a movie with her three girls and was getting them ready for bed. She applied hand sanitizer as she was cleaning up. Her home has dozens of hand sanitizers and cleaning products because one of her daughters has a compromised immune system.

RELATED: 4 US deaths tied to methanol-based hand sanitizers

After the girls were in bed, Wise lit some incense. In a matter of seconds, her arm caught fire. Frightened, she jumped back and knocked over a bottle of alcohol.

“Literally like it instantly, set my hand and forearm on fire,” said Wise. “It engulfed my whole body in flames and all I hear is my girls screaming mom you are on fire.”

The room Wise was in caught fire, she told her children to run next door to call 911 while she took off her clothes and ran for her daughter who was still in bed. 


e530ae1f-Woman using Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

FILE - Woman using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.


“It was traumatic, it really was,” Wise said. “I feel very blessed to be alive and I feel very blessed to get all the girls and all the animals out.”

Looking back on that night, Wise thinks about the off-brand hand sanitizer bottle she used. She didn’t know what was in it and pulled out of a bin from a local food chain. She hopes her story serves as a warning to others.

“Be aware of what you are really buying. It’s hard right now because there are not a lot of known brands that are proven and it’s easy just like I did to buy whatever it is that you can find because it’s scarce,” said Wise.

RELATED: FDA hand sanitizer recall widens to over 100 products

Wise has a long road to recovery and the damage done to her home she says is not worth salvaging. “We are just going to have new beginnings all around,” Wise said. “We'll just build elsewhere and make it a happy new start.”

Wise’s best friend has a Gofundme set-up to help cover medical expenses and to help her family rebuild. 

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