How in the world did a few rocks found on a beach near Camp Pendleton cause a woman's cargo shorts to catch fire, leaving her with severe burns? That's what scientists are trying to figure out right now.
Here's a little background: Lyn Hiner, 43, was at San Onofre State Beach, near Camp Pendleton, with her husband Ron and children on Saturday. Hiner's children picked up some beach rocks and took them home, according to the Associated Press. When Hiner put those rocks in the pocket of her cargo shorts, the shorts caught fire. The blaze was so intense it set off smoke detectors in the family home.
Denise Fennessy, assistant director of Orange County's environmental health division, told the AP that initial tests show that several of the rocks were covered in phosphorus:
A naturally occurring mineral, phosphorus is found in oxidized form in rocks, but in its pure elemental form can burn when exposed to air. Phosphorous compounds are used in everything from flares to fertilizer.
Despite the rocks proximity to Camp Pendleton, base spokesman Capt. Barry Edwards told the AP:
[T]here was no evidence that military training aids were involved in the discovery, but the base will cooperate with investigators if asked.
Good Morning America interviewed Lyn and Ron Hiner this morning. Click here to watch.