With summer rapidly approaching, firefighters are warning people to never leave clear plastic water bottles in a hot car.
It seems like the opposite thing you would hear as temperatures heat up, but officials have found that partially full plastic water bottles can actually pose a threat to you and your personal property.
Dioni Amuchastegui, a battery technician with the Idaho Power Company, was on his lunch break when he noticed smoke passing through the center console of his truck. To his surprise, the smoke was coming from nothing more than a bottle of water—the kind that we all have rolling around our vehicles at any given time.
“I looked over and noticed light was being refracted through a water bottle and starting to catch the seat on fire,” Amuchastegui recalled in a video on the company’s page.
Two burn marks were left on the seat of his vehicle.
Now firefighters are warning other drivers about the hazard of partially filled water bottles being left in hot cars.
In a test conducted by one Oklahoma Fire Department, intense sunlight magnified by a water bottle reached 250 degrees.
David Richardson, of the Midwest Fire Department in Oklahoma, told KFOR the sunlight “uses the liquid and the clear material to develop a focused beam, and sure enough, it can actually cause a fire.”
Experts believe the extra heat can cause a car’s interior materials — fabric seats, mats, leather, and other objects inside the vehicle — to catch fire.
While the risk is relatively small, officials warn that you be aware of the danger, and keep clear plastic water bottles either covered or out of unattended vehicles completely.