CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A billboard advertising “steaming” fresh pizza at a general store chain in the Midwest apparently took it a step too far, prompting 911 calls from concerned passersby.
Earlier this month, a Casey's sign that appeared over the U.S. 10 freeway in Mounds View, Minnesota, used a fog machine to make the pizza appear as if it was actually steaming hot.
Some motorists, however, who drove by the sign really thought that it was on fire.
“We have had several calls about it where people think something is on fire,” Mounds View Police Chief Nate Harder told the Duluth News Tribune. “I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, but one we’ve had to react to.”
Harder noted an increase in 911 calls concerning the billboard.
On May 12, the Cedar Rapids Police Department in Iowa tweeted the same Casey's “steaming” pizza billboard.
“JCC received several calls reporting a billboard on fire. Company installed a smoke machine to the billboard,” the Cedar Rapids Police tweeted. “Supposed to depict a steaming hot pizza.”
The police department then ended their tweet with some saucy humor.
“There is NO FIRE and do not call 911 to order a pizza!” the department tweeted.
Harder told the News Tribune that the sign in Mounds View has been up for weeks and that the calls have slowed down as the weather got warmer.
“I think with the weather being a little bit nicer, it doesn’t steam as much, but when it got a little bit colder it did look like there was quite a bit of steam and some smoke,” he told the newspaper.
Casey's General Store confirmed to the News Tribune that authorities asked them to shut off the fog machine. The company did for a while, before turning it back on with a note informing motorists driving by that the sign was not on fire.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.