Unusual Prank Causes Searcy Fire Department to Take Notice

SEARCY, Ark.-  An unusual prank is surfacing in Searcy.  A caller poses as the fire department asking businesses to test their extinguishing equipment.

The Searcy Fire Dept. says a local restaurant recently fell for the prank, but they aren't saying the name of the restaurant.  Now their goal is to prevents others from falling prey to the pranksters.

"Somebody had called in and said they were from the fire department and they wanted them to activate their hood suppression system to make sure that it was working correctly," says Fire Inspector, Guy Grady.

Grady says the employee pulled the manual pull station, which releases a chemical.  If there is a fire, it forms a soap like foam putting it out, if not, it makes a big mess.

"It shuts the restaurant down because they can't cook anymore," says Grady.  "The whole system runs on compressed canisters and so they have to get a technician to come in and reset the system and put it in new canisters."

Grady says it's been happening in other states like South Dakota and North Carolina.

"We would never call a business and ask them to set off the suppression system," says Grady.

He urges if anyone receives a call to call the fire department and verify before taking any other action.

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