SANDUSKY, Ohio– A Sandusky family says they returned home Saturday to find their kitchen starting to fill with smoke and flames coming from their third generation Amazon Echo Dot virtual assistant.
“Me and my wife, we came back home and went into the front living room. And I was going outside to check on something and I came in and the smoke was banked down. And I yelled to her, ‘Your Alexa is burning!'” Joe Jachym said.
Jachym, a retired Sandusky firefighter with 26 years experience, said responding to a fire in his own house was something he never anticipated. He said both the electrical outlet and device charger cord were not damaged, only the device and surrounding counter top.
“With something like that, it will knock the breaker out, but there was no fire by the plug itself,” Jachym said. “It was just in the unit itself.”
A deep char remains on the wood counter along with black smoke stains on the cabinet near where the device was left plugged in.
Jachym’s daughter, Liz, said she bought the device about two months ago from a big box store and paid about $50 for the latest generation gadget. She said she contacted Amazon to report what happened, but did not hear back after an initial call.
“I did contact them to let them know and they pretty much said, ‘Sorry for your inconvenience,’ and they haven’t gotten back with me yet,” she stated.
FOX 8 reached out to Amazon Tuesday morning for comment. Hours later, a representative called the family while crews were still at their home.
According to Liz, the Amazon representative said they would email a shipping label so the device could be returned for inspection, along with sending the family a new Echo Dot.
“We know a lot of families that have these Dots and it concerns me if they do catch on fire,” Liz said. “They are in a lot of kids’ rooms and family homes.”
An Amazon spokesperson released the following statement:
“Amazon takes the safety of its products seriously. We have reached out to this customer and are investigating this matter.”
The family said the company’s response provides little comfort considering they could have lost their home and pets in a fire. Jachym said he wants Amazon to find the root cause and be transparent about how to solve the problem, if it is widespread.
“I would tell them 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,” Jachym said. “I don’t want another one in the house.”
The family said they plan to use the new Echo Dot device Amazon says it will ship, in order to get a refund from the original place of purchase.