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Metal dog bowls can start house fires from focused sunlight reflections

Friday, June 28, 2013 by: PF Louis
Tags: dog bowls, house fires, fire prevention

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(NaturalNews) Terry and Shay Weisbrich from Santa Rosa, California were astonished when a fire was ignited from a focused ray of sun powerfully reflected onto their wooden house by the dog's chrome water bowl.

Even Rene Torres, the Bennett Valley Fire Department engineer and his fellow firefighters were perplexed as to what had started the fire until Torres spied a dog's shiny, empty bowl on the porch.

Terry explained that he had kicked the bowl out of the way as he aimed a fire extinguisher on the smoldering blaze. Torres asked Terry to place the bowl back to its original position.

He wondered if the bowl could be to blame for the small charred section of Cedar siding on the porch. But how? After Weisbrich had returned the bowl "It was uncanny", Torres exclaimed. "There was a dot of concentrated light right in that exact area where the fire had started."

The Weisbrichs, a retired couple speculated on what could have happened considering the dry, hot, breezy weather, if they had been away from home when their dog, Toby, a Retriever began barking to alert them that something was wrong.

This prompted Shay to walk over to the sliding glass doors and look outside. To her amazement she saw smoke and yelled, "we've got a fire.'

"It really could have burned that house down," Torres exclaimed. Both Torres and The Weisbrich's felt it was important to notify the manufacturer of the possible fire hazard potential of the bowl. So Toby's outside water bowl was replaced with a plastic bowl.

Interestingly, firefighters in Bellevue, Washington suspected sunlight through a dog's clear glass water bowl had started a house fire resulting in $200,000 worth of damage. One of the firemen conducted an experiment with the dog's bowl on a piece of cedar and exposed them to bright sunlight to successfully create a fire.

University of Washington atmospheric scientist Steve Warren says though improbable, a fire from the focused rays of the sun and a shiny or clear glass dog bowl is possible. "The shape, the height and the angle of the sun would have to be just right."

Fire prevention and safety tips for pet owners

Excerpted from Responsible Pet Ownership Blog (source below):

Do a thorough walk through of your home to look for places where a pet might inadvertently start a fire. These potential fire hazards include, but are not limited to, loose wires, frayed cords and stove knobs.

The kitchen stove is the number one way that pets accidentally start fires. Pets have also been known to unintentionally fill the house with gas fumes by turning the burners.

The easiest way to prevent both of these things from happening is to put childproof covers on the stove knobs. Some people remove the knobs when they're going away, but you have to remember to do it every day.

Never leave your pet unattended around open flames of any kind including candles, the stove, or the fireplace (which should be covered by a pet-proof screen).

Flameless candles are a much safer alternative to regular candles. The twitch of a tail or an inquisitive nose can knock over a lit candle and spark a blaze instantly.

An empty glass water bowl on a sunny wooden deck can act as a magnifier of the sun's rays to ignite the wood. Choose ceramic bowls for pet's outdoor water instead.

Sources for this article include:




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