Rodent issues at Sunrise senior living facility leads state to close kitchen

Infestation has been problem for weeks, but residents had no idea

SUNRISE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health has ordered a senior living facility in Broward County to shut its kitchen and alleviate a “serious rodent issue” after Local 10 News brought the problem to the state’s attention.

Local 10 learned the infestation has been going on for six weeks at Pacifica Senior Living, located at 4201 Springtree Drive in Sunrise.

Residents, who are served three meals a day there, told Local 10 News they were unaware of the issue.

State inspectors ordered the kitchen at the facility shut Tuesday night and were told they needed to find an alternative, safe way to serve meals until the rodents are gone and the kitchen is re-inspected.

Video sent to Local 10 News shows a large rat with a slice of bread heading up a pole while another rodent could be seen with its head sticking out of an air conditioning vent.

The video was sent anonymously to Local 10 News with the message, “Jeff, please do something, they serve meals to the elderly here.”

Within hours of receiving notice from Local 10 News, the Department of Health suspended the facility’s sanitation certificate, meaning Pacifica cannot engage in food service and must find an “alternative process to serve safe meals.”

Local 10 News’ Jeff Weinsier went to Pacifica Senior Living, parked in the back of the building and watched.

A pest removal company was already there.

Within minutes, a chef exited the building with a rat stuck to a glue trap.

Shortly after that, the chef threw a box into the dumpster. When we looked to see what it was, it was a box of single-serve Corn Flakes with the container tops gnawed open.

Pacifica has been keeping its residents in the dark about the rodent problem while keeping the kitchen open.

Weinsier spoke with several residents who said they had no idea there was an issue.

Bridget Parks is the administrator at Pacifica. She is seen in video taken by Local 10 News talking with an exterminator and a kitchen employee on the day Weinsier saw several rodents being removed.

“Our corporate office has a statement for you,” was all Parks said, refusing to talk and instead handing over a statement that read: “We have been diligently working with a highly reputable pest control company for more than six weeks. Today (Monday), we have requested that they provide the maximum support necessary to put this issue behind us.”

As of Wednesday morning, residents still had not been told about the issue.

Local 10 News did look over past inspections at Pacifica, and while they did receive an unsatisfactory in May and June of last year, the violations didn’t involve rodent issues.

The Department of Health will be re-inspecting the facility before the kitchen is allowed to re-open.

Pacifica is licensed for 200 residents.

Local 10 News is not privy as to what Pacifica is doing to feed its residents in the meantime, or from where they are getting the food.

About the Author:

Jeff Weinsier joined Local 10 News in September 1994. He is currently an investigative reporter for Local 10. He is also responsible for the very popular Dirty Dining segments.