banana boat burns

Man Applies Sunscreen, Catches Fire, How Irish Do You Have to Be?

A Massachusetts man has a harrowing tale of sunscreen gone wrong worthy of its own Fox “When Thing Attacks” show, after he caught fire shortly following his application of the normally protective substance.

Brett Sigworth has to be some kind of Klutz Olympics gold medalist for managing to burst into flames in such a seemingly innocuous way, but the risk of sunscreen catching fire isn’t totally out of the realm of possibility. (And brother, I am right there with you, I could set fire to water.) Sigworth also tempted the fire, walking over to a grill and ostensibly an open flame before the calamity occurred.

And occur it did. Sigworth apparently caught fire to his chest, ear and back, which are incidentally all the places he rubbed the Banana Boat sunscreen. He describes a scene of flaming horror grillside as his freshly-applied sunscreen ignited:

“I went into complete panic mode and screamed… I’ve never experienced pain like that in my life.”

Although the bottle of Banana Boat carries a warning, somewhat cryptically, about that very possibility (“flammable, don’t use near heat, flame or while burning,” because I suppose maybe some people would apply sunscreen, while burning?), the company says they’ve never heard of any Banana Boat users becoming roman candles before the Massachusetts grilling incident:

“We are unaware of any prior incidents similar to what Brett has described, but because nothing is more important to us than the safety of our consumers, we are taking this matter very seriously.”

banana boat flammable

Sigworth indicated that perhaps more people should know sunscreen is indeed a flammable substance:

“I think if people were told this is flammable for two minutes on your skin, people wouldn’t use it.”

He does not plan to sue Banana Boat over the incident, but said that he hopes no one else experiences the whole catching fire thing, because it was rather unpleasant.