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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Alcohol-Hand Sanitizer Dispensers Cited for Boston-area Shopping Mall Blaze in

Courtesy of Saugus, MA "The Daily Item". We couldn't make this kind of story up-click on the title link to the media publication. We invite readers to point out this story to airport operators that have installed alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers without even considering the fire risk. Duh--maybe someone should point this out to Homeland Security officials?? Nah..that would distract them from searching people's underwear!

By Chris Stevens / The Daily Item

SAUGUS, MA - Firefighters responded to what seemed to be a routine alarm at the Square One Mall Monday evening, but a fire in the food court proved to be a puzzler.

Fire Chief James Blanchard said firefighters arrived in the mall's second floor food court a little after 9 p.m. to find a hand sanitizer unit fully engulfed in flames.

"It had spread up the wall and set off the sprinklers," he said. "We're still looking into how that got started."

He said the automatic hand sanitizer unit is about twice the size of a paper towel dispenser and is located just outside the restroom area in the corner of the food court.

Blanchard said the fire concerns him for two reasons. First, the machine is battery operated and not wired, so he's left wondering how the fire actually started.

Blanchard is also wondering if the fire is an isolated incident. The mall is owned by Simon Malls and Blanchard said it's his understanding that the dispensers are in all of their malls. If the fire proves to have somehow been started by the dispenser, there could be a recall issue.

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