June 27, 2019 | by Sara Karnes
A Branson motel was forced to close after officials deigned it an “imminent health hazard” earlier this week, according to the health department.
Residents at Branson Plaza Motel, 1106 W. Missouri 76, had complained several times about the cockroach infestation and bedbug issues but were allegedly told by management not to call the health department, according to a Taney County Health Department inspection report.
Inspectors began investigating some of the unoccupied motel rooms Monday, June 24, said Lisa Marshall, the health department’s public information officer.
By Tuesday, inspectors had access to the occupied rooms. They found that pests weren’t just in one or two of them, Marshall said.
“It was a facility-wide issue,” Marshall said. “With pests carrying diseases, it’s not a safe environment.”
Of the approximately 30 rooms, 19 were occupied by long-term residents, Marshall said.
“In regards to residents, we had to shut down the facility quickly,” she said.
Live cockroaches were found in at least 24 rooms, including the motel’s basement and laundry room, according to the inspection report. Bedbugs were found in about nine rooms, and several dead bedbugs were found on the guest laundry floor.
The health department has received “multiple complaints” of cockroaches, bedbugs, ticks and ants at the Branson Plaza Motel from May 20 to June 24. Both the owner and general manager said they weren’t aware of the issues and the “tenants had not notified anyone of the concerns,” the report stated.
“Only one week of weekly room inspection records were provided for the month of June, and several records were not filled out,” the report stated. “No other records for previous weeks were available.”
Several guests said they told the manager about the cockroaches and bedbugs, and the manager either tried to self treat the room with pesticides or did nothing, the report stated. Residents told inspectors that they have not had a professional treat their room at any point.
“Due to the severity of the cockroach infestation observed throughout the entire building, this is an imminent health hazard for the occupants of the room,” according to the report.
Once the health inspectors found that the complaints were valid, Marshall said the facility has been closed.