Firefighters responded to the scene in Cypress, Texas, Friday night after the young woman was able to escape her house and get help from a neighbor, according to Cy-Fair Fire Department spokesman Robert Rasa.
The unidentified woman, 20, had left open a bottle of flammable nail polish remover near a candle, according to ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston. The fumes from the nail polish remover created a vapor cloud that ignited from the flame of the nearby candle, according to fire department officials.
Rasa said the fire caused minimal damage in the room but was large enough to ignite the woman's clothing and cause third-degree burns on 50 percent of her body.
In spite of her injuries, the woman was able to flee the house and call for help, eventually getting the attention of a neighbor who called the authorities.
The woman was airlifted to Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston. Hospital officials have not released her condition.
Fire officials said a flash-fire from nail polish vapor is rare but they’ve seen it happen with other flammable substances, including gasoline.
In a video recreation for KTRK, firefighters from the Bellaire Fire Department found that it took less than two minutes for nail polish remover to catch fire in an enclosed space with a candle.
"It was surprising,” Bellaire Firefighter Curtis Thompson told KTRK. “I did not expect it to ignite as fast as it did. It's an everyday use chemical that I'm sure everyone is not aware it can ignite as fast as it did.”
Rasa said the fire department recommends reading warnings on chemicals in order to keep any flammable liquids away from open flame.