If you have a bottle of water in your car right now, you could be putting yourself and your vehicle at risk for disaster.
A battery tech with the Idaho Power Company was sitting in his truck during lunch when he noticed smoke coming from beneath the center console. When he looked down, he was shocked to see it was caused by a bottle full 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 by the company's Facebook page on July 13.
The magnified light and heat caused two burns in one of the truck's leather seats.
"Light was just shining through the driver's side window and shown right through and burned those two spots in the seat… It was super hot, I even stuck my hand under," Amuchastegui said. "We registered the heat.. with a non-contact thermometer it was extremely hot. It was hot enough to start burning a hole through the seat."
The Idaho Power Company showed a reenactment test in which they placed the water bottle in line of the sun inside a truck. When measured with a thermometer, they recorded temperatures of 211 and 213 degrees.
Firefighters are also spreading warnings about this potential hazard. During a test by Oklahoma's Midwest City Fire Department, sunlight refracted from a water bottle reached 250 degrees, reports news channel KFOR. "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 continued.
Though the risk of a fire starting this way is low, you should take necessary precaution. If you keep bottled water in your car, be sure it is kept completely under the seat and out of the sun or take it with you when exiting your vehicle.