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Archive for Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dead rat smell stinks up airport

March 20, 2008

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— At least two dozen rodents died in hidden nooks and crannies of a gate area at Orlando International Airport, creating a stench so foul it forced authorities to shut down a customs checkpoint last weekend and divert arriving international passengers to the opposite side of the airport, authorities said.

The odor made passengers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors nauseous, said Special Agent Zachary Mann, an agency spokesman. He did not know the number of people who were affected.

A $321 million renovation and expansion of the airport's two oldest satellite gate areas caused the infestation. Construction crews working on Airside 1 and Airside 3 upset nests of rats living in the ground and sent them scurrying into the Airside 1 building, said airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell.

Exterminators poisoned the rodents, and some of the creatures crawled into the ceiling and walls of Airside 1 to die. Their remains stunk up the customs checkpoint on the first floor.

The customs checkpoint is scheduled to reopen Friday.

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