TOPEKA (KSNT) – More than a dozen health violations plagued a Topeka gas station before it shut down, according to a 27 News investigation.
The problems rapidly deteriorated after the Kwik Shop at 17th and Washburn changed owners in May 2019. Multiple health inspections found the business out of compliance, including in August 2019, May 2021 and June 2022.
In the early years, health inspectors found violations including milk coolers that wouldn’t shut, debris in a microwave, a drainpipe in the bathroom not attached to a drain and numerous issues with foods being kept at incorrect temperatures. Eventually, the retail floor was blocked off with caution tape to prevent sales. A path was made from the front door to the cash register to facilitate the sale of only lottery tickets, cigarettes and gasoline.
The final inspection before the property shut down found eight health inspection violations at the property:
- More than 25 packages of candy, chips and other snack food had been chewed on by rodents. Bags were found by inspectors and disposed of. The report said the rest of the stock needed to be checked for contamination.
- A container of opened hotdogs in the walk-in cooler. The person in charge didn’t know when they were opened.
- A cooler on a retail shelf that raw shell eggs were stored next to was touching wrapped breakfast sandwiches. In the same cooler, packages of raw bacon were stored over ready-to-eat cheese packages.
- Boxes of food products were stored directly on the floor.
- A damaged package of quaternary test strips used to test sanitizer water. The strips were unusable and the person in charge was not able to set up a sanitizing sink.
- No paper towels or other hand-drying provisions were at the self-serve area or public restroom handwashing sink.
- Throughout the store, there was a large buildup of rodent droppings around the perimeter, retail floor, in cabinets and under shelves. Trash and food debris needed to be cleaned up in the store room.
- The licensee did not cease operations and notify KDA of the imminent health hazard of a live rodent infestation.
The property was placed under voluntary closure and later a demolition permit was issued by the City of Topeka. This month, the gas pumps at the location were demolished.
KSNT 27 News attempted to reach out to the current property owners, Washburn Ave KS, LLC, based out of California, for comment. The call was not returned.