A retired firefighter from Sandusky, Ohio, reportedly ended up putting out a fire in his own home over the weekend when his family’s Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker/virtual assistant combusted in their kitchen.
According to a report from Fox 8 Cleveland, the incident took place on Saturday, when Joe Jachym and his wife returned home, making their way to their living room. Jachym, who worked as a firefighter for 26 years before retiring, said that he noticed that his Echo Dot was burning after stepping outside “to check on something.” He then returned inside to discover that the “smoke was banked down.”
After Jachym put out the fire and assessed the damage, it was discovered that the electrical outlet and charger cord remained in working condition after the fire. The Echo Dot and the wooden countertop where it had rested were both damaged, while the cabinet near the outlet where the device was plugged in had some black smoke stains, Fox 8 Cleveland wrote.
“With something like that, it will knock the breaker out, but there was no fire by the plug itself,” Jachym told the outlet. “It was just in the unit itself.”
Per Fox 8 Cleveland, Jachym’s daughter, Liz, purchased the Amazon Echo Dot for $50 about two months ago from an unnamed “big box store.” Although she originally told the outlet that Amazon had not yet gotten back to her for further assistance, the company had reached out to the family on Tuesday, promising that a new Echo Dot would be sent — after the original device is returned for inspection.
— Kim Wetzel (@kimdogg) February 28, 2019
Since the release of the original Amazon Echo virtual assistant, these Alexa-enabled products have been popular among consumers. However, as Digital Trends noted, there have been no other reports of the devices catching fire. The publication advised Echo owners to take the necessary precautions when using their devices, such as keeping them away from liquid and ensuring that it is placed in a properly ventilated area.
It still remains unclear why the Jachym family’s Echo Dot caught on fire, though as Fox 8 Cleveland and Digital Trends pointed out, Amazon has since issued a statement confirming that it is looking into the incident. However, the former outlet added that such an assurance isn’t enough for the family, as the fire could have been much worse had it not been put out in time.
“I would tell them [to] inspect their units, see why it’s happening, which they have contacted us and if they’re gonna want it back, they can have it,” Joe Jachym remarked. “I don’t want another one in the house.”
Meanwhile, the Jachym family is reportedly planning to accept Amazon’s offer to ship a new Echo Dot, albeit in order to get a refund from the retailer where the original device was purchased.