Cockroaches found in seven restaurants at Columbia Center Mall

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Health inspectors found cockroaches on the premises of seven out of the 14 restaurants inside the Columbia Center Mall over the past two days, according to the Benton Franklin Health District.

The health district sent two health inspectors to the mall this week after being notified of a viral photo posted on Facebook Sunday of a dead cockroach in the display case at Sbarro, said Lars Rithins, the health district’s Food Safety Program supervisor.

After conducting the inspections, the heath district found evidence of a “breeding population” of cockroaches at Bruchi’s, meaning they found juvenile and adult live cockroaches. Rithins said a breeding population has the potential to lead to an infestation.

Two other restaurants had at least one live cockroach, four others had dead cockroaches and seven had none whatsoever.

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Since Bruchi’s was the only place with evidence of breeding population, the health district recommended for the establishment to close and disinfect for pests. Bruchi’s voluntarily complied and shut down on Tuesday to be sprayed and cleaned. They are expected to reopen Wednesday.

The other restaurants were notified of the issue and asked to be on alert for pests.

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The heath inspectors looked for problems to address at each of the mall restaurants they inspected: They looked for cracks or holes in the wall where pests can hide, sitting sources of food and water and pest control efforts.

Rithins said the health district will be following up at Bruchi’s the next couple weeks.

He said the health district relies on the public to report health concerns at restaurants.