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Warning: Leaving Your Water Bottle in the Car Could Set It on Fire

They say we need at least seven glasses of water each day, but leaving your water bottle inside the car can do more than quench your thirst–it can also start a fire.

While this could prove handy when you need to survive in the wilderness, leaving your water bottle can actually burn your car seats.

This is what happened to Dioni Amuchastegui, a battery technician. According to Today.com, his water bottle burned two small holes in his truck’s front seat.

“At first I thought it was dust, but the window was rolled up so there was no wind,” he told Today. “Then I noticed that light was being refracted through a water bottle and it was actually smoke.”

“It’s not something you really expect, having a water bottle catch your chair on fire,” Amuchastegui said of the unlikely scenario. “I actually had to do a double-take the first time.”

How This Happened

Here’s how it started: that simple water bottle can act as a magnifying glass, which can cause enough heat to create a small flame. It starts by allowing the sun’s rays to pass through the container and the water, creating a small point of intense light that passes through the lens. This light generates concentrated heat, and when it exceeds 400 degrees, can spark a fire.

Here’s how it works:

The entire process becomes faster if the surface is dark in color. In that case, combustion time happens just within seconds.

According to Midwest City Fire Department’s spokesperson David Richardson, the “conditions must be just right” for this incident to happen.

“The bottle has to have liquid, the liquid has to be clear, the bottle has to be clear and sunlight has to pass through it at the right angle,” he said.

The bottle should also be round–to imitate the convex angle (bulges outwards) of a magnifying glass like this one:

What’s more, the car’s windows shouldn’t be darkly-tinted, and the vehicle shouldn’t be moving as well.

If you meet all these conditions, then you have the perfect recipe for disaster.

Better Alternative

So does that mean you shouldn’t leave your water bottles inside your vehicle? Preferably yes. Or you can opt for those semi-opaque to opaque reusable water bottles like this one:

You’re actually hitting two birds in one stone here: Not only will you prevent this kind of incident from happening, but you will also be doing a good favor to the environment as well.

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