Monday, June 22, 2009

hotel employee creates $50K damage by believing a prank call

On June 6, Christina Bergman was working at the reception desk of the Holiday Inn Express in Conway, AK. At around 6AM, she received a call from a man who identified himself as an employee of the Grennel Fire Sprinkler Service.

The man told Bergman that there was a serious problem with the fire sprinklers and that they needed to be "reset." To reset them, he instructed her to pull the fire alarm. Bergman did as instructed. (creating a real, audible fire alarm)

The caller then told Bergman that the only way to keep the sprinklers from activating was to break all the exterior windows in the lobby. Bergman followed instructions.

At that point, a equally-gullible bystander, Rusty Brown, came to Bergman's aid and helped her break windows.

Since that did not turn off the alarms, the caller told Brown and Bergman that they needed to disable the sprinkler system by breaking the head of one of the sprinklers. Bergman broke it... causing water to pour from the sprinkler head, flooding the lobby.

The caller then told Bergman and Brown that they needed to cut the power to the hotel. They did.

The fire department and police finally arrived at the hotel to find more than a hundred people who had evacuated their rooms for the fire alarm. They also found a hotel lobby in complete disarray-- with broken windows, water pouring out the door, and no power.

Everyone was safe. There was never an emergency. Damage is estimated at $50K. A similar call was made to a hotel in Little Rock, AK.

A photocopy of the police report can be found at The Smoking Gun: (the second page of the report has most of the detail)

1 comment:

Now That's Nifty said...

I hope this employee was fired for being a moron.