Even a water bottle can cause a fire inside a car on a hot Texas day
You can find all kinds of items stored in the backseats, on dashboards, or on top of consoles in vehicles, but experts say some of those items could pose a fire hazard when the sun blazes and the temperature soars, including those ubiquitous bottles of water.
"If everything comes together right, if you have water inside a clear water bottle and you have dark fabric inside your vehicle, it can actually penetrate through the clear water bottle onto that fabric or any dark combustibles that are around and actually start a fire,” Waco Fire Department Lt. Keith Guillory said.
The Midwest City Fire Department in Oklahoma posted a video on its Facebook page not only to warn about, but also to show what can happen if a bottle of water is left in direct sunlight.
The sun magnified through the full 8-ounce bottle of water burns a hole in a sheet of black paper in less than 20 seconds.
David Richardson, the firefighter who appears in the video, says it took 450 degrees to burn the hole in the paper.
"A mirror can also be used as of magnifier-like object or a can reflect the sun onto a combustible inside your vehicle. That can also cause a fire,” Guillory said.
Such items as eyeglasses can also magnify the sun's rays, experts say.
Aerosol cans could burst.
Experts also warn against leaving medication inside a car.
The heat can alter its chemical makeup, which could make the medication inffective or possibly even harmful.
Other items the extreme heat can affect include electronics, sunscreen, chocolate, and batteries.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses double every 20 minutes at room temperature.
High heat accelerates the process.
Also beware of cigarette lighters, which can burst under extreme temperatures.