Crank call sends firemen on wild goose chase


MIRI: A team of firemen was tricked into rushing to Sungai Bakas some 80km from here after the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) received a crank call yesterday from a woman who claimed that a longhouse there had caught fire.

Bomba Miri chief Law Poh Kiong said the department’s operations room received the call from the woman, who introduced herself as Tigas, at 8.04am.

“She reported a fire involving a longhouse at Jalan Sibu-Bintulu, and this prompted the department to dispatch two teams from Sungai Merah and Tatau to the scene,” he said.

The caller however could not be reached again when firemen tried to contact her to determine the exact location, he said, adding it was later determined that the call originated from a substation near Bakong.

According to Law, it was the first crank call received by Bomba Miri this year.

“This crank call caused our team to travel two hours (to and fro),” he lamented.

He stressed that the public must not make crank calls as this could hamper the department’s response to genuine disasters.

“Imagine if there was a real emergency, and we were out responding to a fake one. Those experiencing the actual emergency would be the ones to suffer,” he said.