Last updated: July 25. 2014 2:34PM - 663 Views
By Rachel McAuley rmcauley@civitasmedia.com



Eric Strickland, Laurinburg fire department engineer, checked the temperature of the 'Hot Car' display Thursday at the entrance of Walmart. He used a pyrometer, a device firefighters use to locate heat sources, every 15 minutes to update the digital thermometer next to the vehicle.
Eric Strickland, Laurinburg fire department engineer, checked the temperature of the 'Hot Car' display Thursday at the entrance of Walmart. He used a pyrometer, a device firefighters use to locate heat sources, every 15 minutes to update the digital thermometer next to the vehicle.
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LAURINBURG — Before entering the air-conditioning of Laurinburg’s Walmart on Thursday, shoppers paused to double-check a digital thermometer which measured the temperature of a vehicle’s interior at 137 degrees.


The temperature had reached that in 30 minutes.


Laurinburg police Cpl. Josh Byrd, who coordinated the “Hot Car” event held by Safe Kids North Carolina and sponsored by the city’s fire and police departments, also had on hand a more practical display.


Graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows were placed in the dashboard of the display car and in 15 minutes the filling melted. Shoppers grabbed the s’mores as they walked by, but many had to let them cool down before taking a bite.


“Most were unaware at how hot it was in there,” Byrd said. “People couldn’t believe it — it was more of a shocker than anything, which is the reaction we were looking for.”


The event was held to raise awareness of how hot the inside of a car can become in a short amount of time, causing anyone trapped inside to suffer from heat stroke or death. Because their body temperature can rise much faster than adults, children are particularly susceptible.


At least 17 children have died in the U.S. this year after being left inside a hot car.


Rachel McAuley can be reached at 910-506-3171. Follow her on Twitter @rachelmcauley1.


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