State workers: Rats running rampant in Raleigh office
Posted December 3, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Old buildings have their own character, but character involving rodents takes it a bit too far. It seems construction stirred up serious problems at the state Division of Employment Security.
DES employees emailed 5 On Your Side about problems inside the building on Wade Avenue in Raleigh, including dead rats and rat droppings. The 1940s building is undergoing construction and has holes in the walls and ceilings while the elevators are being rebuilt.
When asked if there’s a rodent problem, DES spokesman Larry Parker said they’ve “seen a slight increase, more than what we have in the past.”
Employees reported to 5 On Your Side that they have seen:
- Rat droppings around desks
- Rats at desks and in trash cans, eating employees' food
- A strong, foul odor, which turned out to be a dead rat
- Employees screaming in the halls after seeing a rat
- A rat ran across an employee's foot
- Two rats caught by employees who set their own traps
- An employee jumped on her desk after seeing a rat
- An employee who described “nasty conditions”
"Well, certainly it is something that we take very seriously,” Parker said. “Again, the safety of our employees and making sure that they're in a comfortable work space is a priority of ours."
Parker would not allow 5 On Your Side into the section of the building at the center of most of the complaints, saying the camera might capture financially sensitive documents in offices. Employees told 5 On Your Side that nothing has been done, even though the agency has known about the problem for a while.
“Well, I can assure you I have the receipts from the pest control company showing that they've been out here laying traps, and we are putting them in the area where folks are seeing them,” Parker said.
Receipts Parker gave 5 On Your Side show only monthly treatments and the use of rat bait. A receipt from after 5 On Your Side first talked with Parker shows a “weekly” pest control and "check for complaints."
Parker also showed 5 On Your Side an outside trap. Employees sent a photo of inside traps, which they say staff came up with a box to keep the trap out of view.
“I’ve been here 10 years, and I have never seen a rat,” Parker said. “(But) certainly, I’ve run into a few people who (have) seen some, yes … We don't want to see that at all and so, that's why it's very important that our employees contact our building control guy as soon as possible. We want to make sure that we get our pest control company out here ASAP and make sure that those traps and anything else is cleaned up, so that way there's no health issue whatsoever."