SAN DIEGO - 10News has confirmed through multiple sources that rats have overtaken Terminal 1 at Lindbergh Field and have been spotted running through the halls, the ceilings and even the restaurants.
"They come out from under the ovens and the fryers and run around looking for food," said one restaurant worker, who did not want to be identified out of fear of losing her job.
Employees said the infestation is common knowledge.
"They're in our workplace," said another worker. "They'll come out by the drains and stuff."
The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority released the following statement to 10News:
"The Airport Authority became aware of a rodent issue due to demolition and construction taking place in some areas of the airport. As a result, the Authority increased its efforts to eradicate this issue, working closely with tenants and the construction team. The Airport Authority’s Environmental Department has been working with the County of San Diego's Vector Control Program regarding the rodent population in the vicinity of the airport. Customer service is one of our top priorities. The Authority has aggressively taken the necessary steps to ensure the safety and comfort of our passengers."
However, the ongoing construction -- mainly of new restaurants -- is right next to existing restaurants.
So far, the exterminators -- who show up at night when the airport is empty -- have killed more than a dozen rats. They return to check the traps every few nights.
Meanwhile, employees say the infestation seems to be getting worse.
"We try to be really discrete about it when customers are there," said one worker. "If we see a mouse or a rat, we try not to say anything. We don't want our customers to know that there are rats."
The Airport Authority told 10News they are working with the health department on this. However, health department told 10News they had no idea that the rats were seen inside the restaurants. They said food inspectors plan to investigate.