GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — State Deputy Fire Marshal Ray Cumby says prank calls for fires and fire alarm checks at hotels and motels in Alabama have led to thousands of dollars in damage.

He said a call to a Gadsden hotel recently led to about $12,000 in damage when the sprinkler system was activated.

A caller identified himself as a representative of the Gadsden Fire Department and asked the clerk to pull the fire alarm as a test. The employee pulled the alarm. Cumby said the caller then told the employee it was necessary to deactivate the sprinkler system and to break a bulb for that deactivation.

He said reports have come from Gadsden, Birmingham, Daphne and Saraland in Alabama and other locations across the country.

The FBI has joined the investigation.

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