We say some days are so hot that you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, but how about starting a fire with a water bottle?
It sounds backwards, but that's just what happened to Dioni Amuchastegui, a battery technician for Idaho Power. Amuchastegui was taking his lunch break when he noticed smoke inside his car.
"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."
Amuchastegui claims the light reflected through his water bottle was so hot that it burned a pair of holes into his passenger seat. In a video demonstrating what happened, a thermometer records the light's temperature as 211 degrees.
"It’s not something you really expect, having a water bottle catch your chair on fire," Amuchastegui said in a video recreating the incident. "I actually had to do a double take the first time."
In fact many who saw Idaho Power's video about the fire had their doubts as well, but a local fire department released a warning of their own about leaving a water bottle in your car on a hot day.
To do a little mythbusting, David Richardson from the Midwest City Fire Department took a water bottle outside on a hot day.
Not only did he prove that Amuchastegui's story was true, but he revealed that water bottles are actually more dangerous than anyone realized - under the right circumstances.
Using nothing but a dark piece of paper and a water bottle, Richardson managed to reach temperatures over 400 degrees and started a fire. But he also advises viewers to keep a few things in mind:
"This is a clear bottle with a clear fluid in it," he explains, "it this was empty or partially filled, it probably wouldn't have worked." That's because the water inside the bottle is what magnifies the light, concentrating it on a single point.
The fire department also says that these bottles are only a hazard in a parked car, since light won't magnify the same way while it's moving.
Can a bottle of water start a fire?
Can a bottle of water start a fire? After numerous comments and questions about the actual possibility of a water bottle being able to start a fire, we put it to the test today! It did in fact work! (See the attached video). PLEASE keep in mind that many factors must be in place for this to occur. The likelihood of this happening in a vehicle and sustaining a fire is probably very small. We do not endorse or condone this activity. This was conducted in a controlled environment for demonstration purposes only!Posted by Midwest City Fire Department on Thursday, August 17, 2017
But don't worry too much about any loose water bottles: maintenance problems like overheated engine parts and spilled fluids are much more likely to start a fire.
Share this warning with your friends and family!