Military.com

Twentynine Palms Commissary Reopens After Rodent Infestation

The produce section of the commissary at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.(US Marine Corps/Cpl. D. J. Wu)
The produce section of the commissary at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.(US Marine Corps/Cpl. D. J. Wu)

The commissary at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms reopened Oct. 21 to a long line of customers after a nine-day closure caused by a rodent infestation, officials said.

Officials with the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) said a "small army" of workers did a top-to-bottom cleaning of the store, including killing the rodents; disassembling, cleaning and reassembling store equipment; and inspecting all items.

"As we got clearance from the pest control contractors to move forward into areas that were showing no activity, we had a small army of store associates deep-cleaning coolers, freezers, display areas and floors before any products were restocked," Lt. Col. (P) Alisa Wilma, director of public health and safety for the agency, said in a release.

The store closed indefinitely Oct. 11 when the problem was discovered. Rodent infestations can be sudden, officials said, citing a Sept. 29 inspection of the store that had noted no problems.

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

While the store was closed, officials ran a sidewalk sale of some stocked food items that had been inspected to make sure they were safe.

Officials are focused on making sure the problem doesn't happen again.

A new "integrated pest management training plan" has been created for the store, they said. It includes making sure store entryways are properly closed when not being used, cleaning up spills and ensuring food is stored correctly.

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