A harmless prank?

By Chuck Kajer

Pranks can be fun. They make people laugh. Heck, most teenagers enjoy a good prank or two, not to mention many adults.

But if they result in emergency personnel being called to the scene of the prank, it's gone too far.

Case in point, Thursday evening, Aug. 10, around 10:40 p.m., the New Prague Fire Department received a call that something was burning on a county road in Lanesburgh Township. Three fire trucks and a number of firemen were dispatched to a road south of New Prague, but were unable to find anything. Then they got an update on the location and started heading to another road about two miles west of the original location.

A New Prague police officer and a Le Sueur County deputy were on the scene and told the firefighters that someone had left a couch on the road and had lit it on fire. The fire had already been extinguished.

The fire department did a little cleanup and headed back to town, no damage done, right?

There was one major problem. The department was already at the scene of another fire, at the Simon's Bar building in downtown New Prague. They had been on the scene for a little more than an hour and were still trying to figure out the exact source of the smoke and how to get at it when the second call came in.

Fortunately, the fire downtown was small and had already been contained. There was no danger to the public and some of the firefighters were able to leave the scene and go looking for the other fire.

But even if the department wasn't at the scene of the other fire, the call would have meant dragging the firemen out of their homes, into trucks that would speed toward the scene of the fire. That alone costs a lot of money and can create other problems.

So congratulations to the pranksters. Your little bit of fun got everyone's attention. But it could have created some real problems.

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