A bedbug scare has forced Goodwill Industries to shut down two Bay Area warehouses and dispose of loads of donated goods, a spokesman said Tuesday.
The infestation, which was confirmed at Goodwill's San Francisco warehouse by bug-sniffing dogs Monday, was confined to an isolated area of the 30,000-square-foot storage facility at 11th and Mission streets, said Tim Murray, director of brand and marketing for Goodwill in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties.
Exterminators will tent and treat the affected area, approximately 20 square feet, in the coming days, he said.
Meanwhile today in Burlingame, bug experts are slated to inspect a warehouse at 1215 California Drive where bedbugs were reportedly spotted last weekend.
Goodwill has disposed of loads of donated goods that were stored near both areas, and steam-cleaned hundreds of pounds of garments, textiles and fabrics that were kept in the same facilities, Murray said.
“We're going way beyond what we have to for the health and safety of our team members and customers,” Murray said. “This is a really unfortunate occurrence that has befallen us.”
Murray said 15 boxes containing 40 cubic yards of donated goods — enough to fill a tractor-trailer —were removed from the Burlingame facility and thrown out.
“We're taking no risks,” he said, adding that the outbreak could cost Goodwill hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost inventory and other expenses.
“This is an enormous financial hit for us,” he said.
So far, no bedbugs have been detected in any of Goodwill's 21 retail stores throughout San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties, all of which remain open for business. Retail sales account for more than 80 percent of Goodwill's operations, Murray said.
However, the outbreak has interrupted Goodwill's nonprofit job-training services and could force the organization to dispose of tons of donated goods, depending on how much of the Burlingame warehouse — if any — is found to be infested, Murray said.
Regardless, he said, the organization will do whatever is necessary to protect the public.
“The bug stops here,” he said. “We'll do whatever it takes to isolate the outbreak.”
Murray said that anyone considering donating goods should never do so if they suspect their property is infested with bedbugs.
Anyone wishing to support the Goodwill financially can donate online at www.sfgoodwill.org.