Expert reacts to viral Facebook post claiming sanitizer left in hot car exploded

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Tonight, we're digging deeper after a Facebook post from a fire department in Wisconsin went viral, claiming hand sanitizer left in a hot car exploded.

We're speaking to a local expert to find out if this can happen and what you should do to stay safe.

The photo sparking controversy was posted by the 'Western Lakes Fire District' in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, Thursday morning and quickly racked up thousands of shares.

Dozens of Facebook users pointed out Spanish written in the background, leading many to question the authenticity of the post.

After some digging, it looks like the origin of the post was in Brazil.

The fire department eventually took down the post, writing, "While we never made the claim that the photo utilized was from our district or from an exploding container of hand sanitizer, it has become clear that that inference and speculation made is seem as though it was."

They went on to say "Our message was intended to center on preventing fire or injury from the use of hand sanitizer."

16 News Now's Lindsay Stone spoke with Clay Fire Marshall Dave Cherrone about the dangers of leaving hand sanitizer in a hot car.

"The one thing when we're talking about leaving in your car, like medication, the heat degrades the medication," Cherrone said.

Cherrone says it's highly unlikely this could happen.

One thing you need to worry about is the alcohol may evaporate.

Cherrone recommends you keep hand sanitizer with you, like in a purse or clipped to your water bottle.

"When you're dealing with anything alcohol based, the last thing you want is to have something happen that could have been avoided," Cherrone said.

A good tip is to allow hand sanitizer to dry for about a minute before touching something else.