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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hotel prank call triggers flood

Hotel prank call triggers floodA San Luis Obispo hotel, The Comfort Inn & Suites Lamplighter hotel, suffered more than $20,000 in damage after falling victim to yet another stupid stuff pranks ideas earlier this month that caused it to flood. This adds another one on the growing list to be targeted across the nation by similar prank calls that result in extensive damage.

At 2:00 a.m. on June 5, the night auditor who was managing the desk had received a call from a stranger impersonating a fireman. When the night auditor requested to speak to his supervisors before taking action, the caller insisted he had little time before the flood would occur. Pressured, the employee followed the caller’s instructions to step on a chair and tap the closest fire sprinkler.

15 minutes later, Sunil Patel, a lamplighter general manager and part-owner, received a call about the flooded hotel which is located on upper Monterey Street. Monterey Street was closed and fire trucks were parked outside. The lobby, front desk area and breakfast room were flooded and water was streaming out the front and back doors. The sprinklers activated had soaked the lobby’s computers, fax machines and printers. Approximately 50 guests evacuated when the fire alarm triggered and police arrived.

Four other hotels within the Choice Hotels chain in Southern California received similar prank calls the same day. Since then, hotels in other states have also been targeted. To avoid such vandalism, business people should use caution when dealing with callers. The prank caller may be charged with a misdemeanor for tampering with fire protection or alarm equipment if identified.



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