UTC officials: rodents likely caused flea infestation inside buildings
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
Three buildings on UTC's campus re-opened on Monday after a flea infestation forced them to close for three days. Founders, Race and Hooper Halls were shut down on Friday.
Campus officials say rodents that got inside the older building likely caused the fleas to spread. Some employees noticed the problem after they started getting bites around their ankles.
"It was kind of just gross. Like, the last you think about is fleas. I thought it was a plumbing issue," said student Charles Marczynski.
Marczynski received a campus-wide e-mail last week that informed students that the three halls would be closed over the weekend due to a flea infestation.
"I just wonder how it got so bad that it was a problem," said student Ashley Sizemore.
"Some of the folks were beginning to feel bitten around their ankles, I think is probably how it started," said UTC spokesperson Chuck Cantrell.
He explained that rodents, like mice and possum, likely slipped through crevices in the old buildings to cause the flea infestation.
A contracted exterminator that does regular work on campus buildings decided to do an intense extermination over the weekend, forcing the three halls, which are all connected, to close for three days.
"We've been battling some fleas in the lower parts of the buildings here on campus for about four weeks now. We would get them killed in one place, and they would move," said Cantrell.
The buildings were re-opened on Monday morning. Officials don't believe there is any threat of the infestation spreading to other buildings, classrooms or dorms on campus.
"It kind of worries me a little bit, but I hope at least they fixed it," said Sizemore.
The halls affected by the fleas are used for faculty offices -- not dorms or food services. UTC officials say the final extermination process in the building's crawlspace will be completed on Tuesday morning.