A housecleaning robot in Austria spontaneously committed “suicide” in a self-induced kitchen fire after its owners had left the house.
The cleaning gadget reportedly switched itself on and moved onto a kitchen hotplate, where it caught on fire and destroyed itself. Local firemen were called to the scene, and the entire building was forced to evacuate.
Fireman Helmut Kniewasser said the homeowners had used the robot to clean up some spilled cereal earlier that day, but had turned off the device before leaving the house.
“The 44-year-old house owner, together with his wife and son, then left the house and were not home when the robot set off,” Kniewasser told the Daily Mail. “Somehow it seems to have reactivated itself and made its way along the work surface where it pushed a cooking pot out of the way and basically that was the end of it.”
“It pretty quickly started to melt underneath and then stuck to the kitchen hotplate,” he added. “It then caught fire. By the time we arrived, it was just a pile of ash.”
The remnants of the housecleaning robot can be seen in the photograph at right.
According to TIME NewsFeed, local media sources in Austria are calling the incident a “robot suicide,” claiming that the robot became so fed up with doing housework that it opted to switch itself on and then permanently off itself.
“I don’t know about the allegations of a robot suicide but the homeowner is insistent that the device was switched off ,” added Kniewasser. “It’s a mystery how it came to be activated and ended up making its way to the hotplate.”
The unnamed homeower stated that he will be suing the manufacturer of the cleaning gadget.
“The company that makes the robots is selling dangerous devices, I intend to sue to get compensation,” he said. “It has ruined my home as everything is smoke damaged.”