Oldy but a goody

In November 1990, police in the Virginia town of Blacksburg were inundated with a flurry of 911 calls from the home of Linda and Danny Hurst. While they quickly ascertained both Hursts were elsewhere and thus weren’t themselves trying to summon help, the source of the calls remained a mystery. Had a burglar who had broken in run into trouble that necessitated a police rescue? Was some unknown person being held hostage in the house? Or had perhaps the phone malfunctioned?

Sheriff’s deputies entered the home with guns drawn, then searched the residence top to bottom.
No burglars or hostages were found. Then Danny Hurst, who had been called to the scene, discovered an overripe tomato in a hanging wire basket dripping juice onto a telephone-answering machine below.

As best police were able to determine, the juice from the distressed tomato shorted out the machine’s dialing system, causing it to call the Sheriff’s Department emergency line.

“I didn’t know the answering machine could even dial out,” Linda Hurst said. “It’s just supposed to take messages.”

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