Firefighters have warned that during spells of unusually hot weather the public should be aware of the dangers of leaving bottled water in their cars.
This summer has seen unusually high temperatures across the United States of America leading to sporadic rare incidents involving flammable water bottles left in cars.
In one incident, Dioni Amuchastegui, a battery technician for a power company in Idaho, happened to be walking past his car when he was on a lunch break and spotted smoke billowing out of it. When he ran over to investigate he found that the bottle of water that he had left on a car seat had started to refract light to such a powerful extent that it had caused one of the seats to catch fire.
Thankfully, he was able to put out the fire relatively quickly and was left with two burn marks on the seat. If the fire had been allowed to rage for much longer he could have been looking at considerably worse consequences – and a much larger bill at the mechanics.
According to the Oklahoma Midwest City Fire Department, this kind of incident occurs far more often than people may imagine. Firefighters at the department have investigated the phenomenon in-depth and have found that when water bottles catch the sunlight in an environment such a hot car they can reach a staggering 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Firefighter David Richardson explained that the sunlight “uses the liquid and the clear material to develop a focused beam and sure enough, it can actually cause a fire, a combustion.”
While this type of event is very rare it’s always better to be safe than sorry and to either take water bottles out of the car when leaving the vehicle unattended or to store them in a place where they cannot catch the sunlight.