Waipahu townhomes project grappling with rat infestation

Published: Mar. 4, 2016 at 3:17 AM HST|Updated: Mar. 4, 2016 at 11:54 AM HST
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Image: Hawaii News Now
Image: Hawaii News Now

WAIPAHU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former and current residents say the Oasis townhouses in Waipahu have turned into a haven for rats.

Several said they moved out of the 400-unit apartment complex near Farrington Highway after their complaints went unaddressed. One resident who wouldn't go on camera told us he trapped and killed 20 rats over the last two years.

"I think it's terrible that anyone in this community in this day and age has to live in these conditions. I believe the home was uninhabitable the first day we moved in," said former resident Jennifer Cannon.

Renee Fretwell, who moved out of the Oasis on Monday, said one rodent was stuck in her shower drain for three days before it finally died. "That is disgusting, no one should have to live through that, that's ridiculous," she said.

The Health Department inspected the property last month but said there was "no evidence of rodent activity" and noticed that the complex had a contract with a pest control company and had deployed rat poison stations outside of nearly every apartment.

However, the inspector spoke mostly with the property manager and not the employees.

Residents said evidence of the rat infestation is clearly visible in units, which have damage from rodents. They also provided us with dozens of photos of dead rats and damaged cabinets and structures, which they say were chewed up by rats who live in their walls and ceilings.

Danielle Palencia says one rat even got trapped in the wiring of her oven.

"The rat was actually fried in the wires. So when he moved it, it started dropping right out, like the maggots, yeah," she said.

Palencia said a rat a;so got trapped in a pan underneath her refrigerator and died.

"The rat was actually in the pan and had become so swollen that my brother couldn't pull it out of the icebox," she said.

Cannon said maggots fed off the dead rats and the live rats left their dropping everywhere, ruining her clothes and staining her carpet.  "The rats had chewed through several items including a clipper oil bottle, some prescription medications, a bar of soap, and some laxative suppositories," Cannon said.

The Oasis is an 18.25-acre, townhouse complex that includes two- and three-bedroom units. It's owned  by the Bascom Group of Irvine, Calif., which acquired the property in 2012 for $73.5 million.

Residents said they have complained about the problem for years with minimal results. But after Hawaii News Now contacted the owners on Tuesday, Bascom's property managers told several residents that they plan to step up extermination efforts.

In a statement Thursday, Mike Stamper, a regional vice president for Apartment Management Consultants LLC, said that "we take every issue raised by our residents extremely seriously. We will look into this and any future issues diligently."

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