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Rats, Roaches In Wendy’s At Sunny Isle Force Shut Down By Health Department



CHRISTIANSTED — A complaint about large rats, roaches and “a [sic] odor of dead rats in the lobby area” brought about a Health Department inspection the next day that forced an inspector to order the Wendy’s at Sunny Isle Shopping Center to close, the Virgin Islands Free Press has learned.

Health Inspector G. Encarnacion said a “concerned citizen” visited the Wendy’s in Estate Castle Coakley  and a complaint was lodged.

Immediately after receiving the complaint on Monday, Encarnacion personally inspected the restaurant and witnessed roaches crawling on the walls  and inside a “smoothie machine,” according to the details of an inspection report released to the VI Freep.


“Complaint stated large rats are visible inside and outside of Wendy’s,” Encarnacion wrote. “Sunday night she visited the restaurant and rodents were visible at the store. The complaint stated as you walk in the front door, there was a odor of dead rats in the lobby area.”

The inspection confirmed what the eyewitness report had related to the Health Department earlier in the week.

“During my inspection I encountered rat droppings present inside boxes of ketchup also on storage area floor,” Encarnacion wrote. “Also roaches present in establishment. Roach present inside smoothie machine and crawling on walls in establishment.”

Wendy’s Restaurant on St. Croix did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the V.I. Free Press.

The health inspector said in the report that sanitary conditions were so bad at Wendy’s at Sunny Isle that they were left with no other choice but to shut down the restaurant.

“I issued a cease and desist and citation ordering closure of establishment until violations are rectified,” Encarnacion said in the report.

According to the health department, in order for Wendy’s at Sunny Isle to re-open the nationally franchised fast food restaurant must first correct four major areas of concern:

  1. “Abatement of nuissance: Employees opening establishment and not cleaning rat droppings and discarding boxes of ketchup with rat droppings. Also strong urine odor in dining area.”
  2. “Unsanitary conditions: Kitchen area floors and walls in unsanitary manner. Grease buildup on floor behind ice machine. Mold buildup between walk-in freezer door.  Trash on floor in storage area.”
  3. “Accumulations prohibited: Establishment is kept in an unsanitary manner. Employees disregarding trash on the floor.”
  4. “Insect pest violation: Rats present in establishment. Rat droppings present in boxes of ketchup and on kitchen floor.”


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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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