ELK GROVE (CBS13) – Restaurants in our region are falling prey to a messy and expensive prank.

Two restaurants in the Elk Grove area recently received prank calls that led workers to activate the emergency fire suppression systems in their kitchens.

Someone is calling the restaurants, identifying themselves as a representative of the alarm company and telling workers that the workers need to test their fire suppression systems, according to the Cosumnes Fire Department. The caller reassures the workers that the systems are in test mode, and when the workers do what they’ve been told, are met with a big, messy surprise.

Restaurants duped by the prank include the Five Guys on Laguna Springs Way and the Wendy’s on Bond Road. The caller also contacted Panera on Bond Road, but in that case, the manager knew something was up and alerted police. When officers arrived, they were able to talk to the caller, but weren’t able to determine his identity.

“Restaurant employees: Do not activate your restaurant fire suppression systems due to phone calls. This is a prank,” warns the Sacramento Fire Department in a statement.

Suppression systems spray a combination of wet and dry chemicals onto cooking surfaces like grills and deep fryers. After clean-up from a suppression system activation is complete, the restaurant still needs to be inspected by a health inspector before the restaurant can reopen.

“It’s very serious, and, like I said, those businesses will be closed ’til tomorrow, until they get their systems regenerated and also the inspector called,” said Consumnes Fire Department Battalion Chief Paul Zehnder

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