Multiple McDonald’s Locations Forced To Close After Prank Callers Convince Workers To Test Fire System

When I think of prank calls, I conjure up images of teenage girls huddled around their clear plastic phones, calling boys in their class and hanging up. You know, harmless fun. But sometimes prank calls can turn into something bigger, and even potentially dangerous: three McDonald’s restaurants in Oregon shut down over the weekend after a caller convinced employees to activate fire suppression systems, spewing chemicals over kitchen appliances.

The East Oregonian reports that five McDonald’s locations were targeted on Sunday by an unscrupulous caller claiming to be a representative for a fire protection equipment company that remotely monitored the fire suppression systems at each restaurant.

State fire officials say that the prankster was able to convince employees at three of the restaurants to test the fire suppression systems.

Once the systems were activated, a cascade of “wet chemical extinguishing agent” – used to smother grease fires – covered the deep fryers and other kitchen equipment, authorities tell the East Oregonian.

“After staff activated the systems, then whoever it was on the phone let them know it was a prank,” Deputy state fire marshal Scott Goff said, noting that the fire suppression systems are not remotely controlled or monitored, and that testing must be done on site.

Although the chemicals didn’t get all over the restaurant, they did cause quite a mess, leading the locations to shut their doors temporarily. Two of the restaurants reopened on Monday, while the third was closed until Tuesday.

Fire officials reminded employees at the restaurant and other businesses that fire agencies will never call individuals to have them test systems.

“We will personally visit you — a fire marshal, chief or personnel will arrive to test the system,” he said.

Prank calls create mischief for local McDonald’s restaurants [East Oregonian]

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