Dead Rodents Cause a Stink at Orlando Airport Customs Checkpoint

The overwhelming stench of at least two dozen dead rats hidden in the walls of Orlando International Airport caused a stink this week, forcing officials to close a customs checkpoint area until they were removed.

The checkpoint is expected to reopen on Friday, free of dead rat smells after some passengers and inspectors got sick last weekend, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel.

The airport is undergoing a $321 million renovation, which upset the rats and sent them crawling into the celing and walls of the building in early March, Carolyn Fennell, an airport spokeswoman, told the Orlando Sentinel.

"It's not something you want to happen, but we're in Florida," Fennell said. "That's where we are."

Exterminators poisoned the rats, killing the rodents inside the walls.

Crews scrubbed air ducts, tiles and carpets with a peroxide solution last weekend, Fennell said. The strong cleaning solutions, combined with the rat stench might have caused passengers and workers to get sick, Fennell said.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials sent a letter dated March 12 to the Orlando International Airport, complaining that passengers and workers became "ill" from dead-rat odors.

The letter cited concerns that airport officials weren't properly responding to the issue.

The dead rats were not a health threat and air-quality tests show the checkpoint area to be safe, Fennell said.

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