PORTLAND, Ore. – Investigators say an unusual combination of hand sanitizer, olive oil and static electricity likely caused an accidental fire that burned a young patient at Portland’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
Oregon State Fire Marshal Mark Wallace said Wednesday that little Ireland Lane had used an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The girl’s father has said she also likely wiped the sanitizer on her T-shirt.
Wallace says olive oil on Ireland’s T-shirt and hair compounded the fire’s severity.
Finally, the fire marshal says the girl apparently had recently learned about static electricity and was trying to create static sparks in her bed by scuffing her feet and rubbing the bed linens. Wallace says a static charge likely ignited fumes from the hand sanitizer and burned Ireland’s olive oil-saturated cotton shirt.
The Klamath Falls girl sustained third-degree burns in the Feb. 2 fire.
The hospital supplied the hand sanitizer, and the olive oil had been used to remove adhesive from an EEG exam.
The hospital says it will no longer suggest olive oil for that purpose.