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A battery technician with the Idaho Power Company was on lunch break when he noticed smoke coming from beneath the center console of his truck. The culprit, he was surprised to learn, was a bottle of water. “I looked over and noticed light was being refracted through a water bottle and starting to catch the seat on fire,” said Dioni Amuchastegui in a video shared on the company’s Facebook page on July 13.
The evidence shows how dangerous leaving a plastic bottle in one’s car on a sunny day can be: two burn marks were left on the seat of Dioni’s vehicle.
Firefighters are warning drivers about the hazard, too. In a test conducted by Oklahoma’s Midwest City Fire Department, sunlight magnified by a water bottle reached 250 degrees, news channel KFOR reports. “The sunlight will come through, when it’s filled with liquid, and act as a magnifying glass as you would with regular optics,” said MCFD’s David Richardson.
“It uses the liquid and the clear material to develop a focused beam and sure enough, it can actually cause a fire, a combustion,” Richardson explained.
The risk of such a disaster occurring is low, but officials say taking your water bottle with you when exiting the car is the best way to prevent this type of car fire.