The driver, from the US state of Maryland, was treated following the shocking incident which took place on Thursday.
Fortunately his injuries were not life-threatening, but he suffered first and second degree burns on his hands and inner thighs.
Footage taken from a helicopter showed black smoke billowing from the blazing vehicle as it sat in the middle of a parking lot.
“[The] driver was able to escape the vehicle while onlookers called 911,” Pete Piringer, a Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson, tweeted.
“Damage to the 2000 Toyota Camry was extensive, estimated to be in excess of $2K. There was little or no collateral damage to nearby vehicles.”
He also said that “using hand sanitiser and smoking a cigarette is a bad combo in unventilated areas like a car”, given that the former containing alcohol, which is highly flammable.
The individual reportedly used a “copious amounts” of the stuff after visiting the Federal Plaza shopping centre in Rockville, with embers from the cigarette igniting the gel and some of his clothing.
Twitter users soon expressed their shock and disbelief at the incident, including the scale of the blaze itself:
The man’s vehicle has been confirmed as a “total loss”.
All we can say is, it could have been a lot worse.