Hot and fresh from … the freeway.
A billboard advertising the fresh pizza at Casey’s, a general store chain with locations in the Midwest, has become the talk of the town in Mounds View, Minn. — and it’s not for the made-from-scratch pies.
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The sign, which appears over U.S. 10 near Interstate 35W junction in Minnesota, uses a fog machine to make the pizza appear as if it is steaming hot. However, motorists quickly driving by the sign think that it is on fire.
“Everybody that drives by thinks the billboard is on fire,” Sam Alexander-Sedey, who had called the non-emergency number to report it, wrote on Facebook.
According to Alexander-Sedey, the non-emergency line told him they had been fielding calls all week about the billboard, which had been up for a few weeks prior to his call.
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“We have had several calls about it where people think something is on fire,” said Mounds View Police Chief Nate Harder to Duluth News Tribune, noting an increase in 911 calls concerning the billboard. “I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, but one we’ve had to react to.”
Harder said the calls have slowed now that the weather is warmer and the steam coming from the sign does not appear as visible.
The company confirmed to the News Tribune that authorities had asked them to turn off the fog machine — which they did for a while, before turning it back on with a sign informing those driving by that the sign was not on fire.
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Casey’s General Store has reportedly had an issue with other smoking billboards advertising its pizza in other states, as well.