Firefighters are warning residents not to make hoax calls after a crew was sent to a blaze that did not exist.
The crew from Leigh fire station was told there was a car on fire in or near the ground of Leigh Infirmary at around 10.45pm on Saturday.
They arrived at the scene and toured around the area for about 40 minutes to make certain there was no fire.
Control staff rang the caller back who claimed somebody else had taken his phone to ring the fire service and he had only just got it back.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is now warning people about the dangers of making malicious calls and warned repeat offenders may face prosecution.
A GMFRS spokesman said: “One fire engine was tied up for around 40 minutes and it was the only fire engine covering the Leigh area at the time.
“We tend to explain the consequences of making malicious calls to first-time offenders adn then block the phone so it can’t be used again.
“However, if the same person rings us again and again with nuisance calls obviously we do get the police involved because they are wasting the fire service’s time.”