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Commissary at Twentynine Palms Still Closed Thanks to Rodents

Marcie Garcia, a Cooking Matters tour participant, chooses the health food at the Twentynine Palms commissary on Oct. 9, 2014. The commissary remains closed while officials deal with a rodent infestation. Pfc. Julio McGraw/Marine Corps
Marcie Garcia, a Cooking Matters tour participant, chooses the health food at the Twentynine Palms commissary on Oct. 9, 2014. The commissary remains closed while officials deal with a rodent infestation. Pfc. Julio McGraw/Marine Corps

Officials do not yet know when the commissary at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, will reopen after it was suddenly shuttered last week due to an infestation of rodents.

"We are working with installation officials to completely resolve any pest issues and reopen the commissary once we certify that all health and sanitation standards are met," Keith Hagenbuch, the Defense Commissary Agency's (DeCA) executive director for store operations, said in a statement released Monday.

"It just goes to show how quickly rodent infestations can escalate, usually related to weather or construction activity that can disrupt areas where rodents normally reside or create access points to a building," the agency's director of public health and safety, Lt. Col. (P) Alisa Wilma, said in the release.

The store was closed indefinitely at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 thanks to the outbreak.

A Sept. 29 health and safety inspection had not found any "substantial complaints," Hagenbuch said in the statement.

Since the closure, the agency has sent a clearance and inspection team and a pest control contractor to examine and fix the problem.

That group is tasked with killing the rodents, cleaning the store, inspecting all products, and finding out how pests got in to start with, officials said in a news release.

Twentynine Palms is considered one of the system's rural stores. It is located in a remote area of southern California with few other nearby grocery options for families and troops stationed there.

A Stater Bros. market is located about 10 miles off base, while a Walmart is about a 40-minute drive.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

This story was updated Oct. 17 to reflect correct quote attribution in paragraph three.

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Amy Bushatz Headlines Marine Corps Military Bases Commissaries

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