A can of hairspray shattered a Vancouver woman’s windshield earlier this week, and firefighters say the intense heat inside her parked car was likely to blame.
Portland Fire & Rescue said many other everyday items you might leave inside your car could turn dangerous as temperatures heat up.
Karmen Ayres said she noticed the can embedded in her windshield Tuesday when she walked to her car after work.
“Saw my window and instantly thought something had fell from the sky,” Karmen Ayres said. “But sure enough, it was my hairspray that exploded, and it was in the back seat... it's a far distance to travel and with a lot of force to break through the window."
Portland Fire Lt. Rich Chatman used a temperature reader to show KATU that cars can get dangerously hot, even on a 70-degree day. On Tuesday, the daytime highs reached the low 90’s.
“They say at 90 degrees, the interior of a car can reach over 140 degrees in less than 30 minutes,” Portland Fire Lt. Rich Chatman said.
Aerosol cans containing things like hairspray, bug spray, paint, or sunscreen cannot sustain temperatures above 120 degrees.
“When things heat up, they expand. So when you have those pressurized containers ... it’s going to want to release,” Chatman said.
That's what happened to Karmen’s hairspray earlier this week.
“She had a missile in her car,” Chatman said, adding that Karmen was lucky she wasn’t in the car.
“You saw the damage it did to the window, that could do a lot of a damage if it were to strike somebody,” Chatman said.
Going forward, Karmen says she hopes this is a cautionary tale for everyone.
“I just never thought it would happen to me,” Ayres said.
Chatman says it’s best just to remove all aerosol cans and butane lighters from your vehicle no matter how long you expect to leave your car in the heat.