A nice walk on the beach with your family sounds so lovely doesn't it? Strolling by the sea, all of you picking up shells. Heck, maybe your kids even pick up some pretty rocks to take home. You just stick them in the pocket of your shorts and move on, distracted by a little crab or a piece of seaglass. Then an hour or so later, when you're back in your kitchen, your shorts suddenly burst into flames, and you're left wondering what the hell is going on.
No, that is not a recurring nightmare (well, it might be your recurring nightmare after this). It actually happened this weekend to a woman in San Diego. She and her kids were at the San Onofre State Beach, and the kids picked up several rocks (pictured above). She had them in her pocket when she got home, and out of nowhere they spontaneously combusted, lighting her shorts on fire. Her leg was badly burned before her husband managed to get the shorts off of her. The stones fell down onto the wooden floor and continued burning, filling the house with smoke. Ahhh! Her quick-thinking husband got her out onto the deck and kept the garden hose on her until the fire department arrived. They were both taken to the hospital. He has second degree burns on his hands from trying to put out the flames, and she has third degree burns on her leg. She's still in the hospital.
They're in the process of trying to figure out what in holy hell caused the rocks to burst into flames out of the blue. They think the rocks were coated in phosphorus, but they're running further tests. The beach where the rocks came from is near Camp Pendleton Marine base, and they're working to determine if there might have been some kind of "military material" that could have found its way onto the rocks. Whatever happened, it's freaking scary. Hopefully she'll be healed up soon, and let's keep our fingers crossed that this hasn't permanently ruined trips to the beach for her—though she probably won't be doing any more rock collecting.