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Plastic water bottle left in vehicle could start fire in minutes

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

First responders are issuing a water bottle warning as hot and humid temperatures strike many parts of the country. According to them, leaving a full plastic water bottle inside a hot car in direct sunlight could cause a fire in a few minutes. With temperatures reaching the high 90s in South Florida during the summer months, it's a warning which should be heeded by all.

The water and plastic could then create a magnifying effect, which could essentially set catch upholstery or plastic inside of the vehicle on fire.

The Midwest City Fire Department in Oklahoma conducted a test in August 2017 and shared the results on Facebook. “Vinyl generally starts to burn at 455 degrees,” said David Richardson of the Midwest City Fire Department. “It wouldn’t take very long to start a fire if conditions were right — depends on how focused that beam of light is.”

Richardson burned a hole through a piece of paper using a small plastic bottle.

“The air temperature doesn’t matter,” Richardson explained. “It works just like a magnifying glass, like one that you would use to burn leaves as a kid. It’s the same principle.”

Fire officials recommend to store water bottles in the trunk or it’s out of direct sunlight.

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