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|Subject: Homeowner Wants Blood-Soaked Condo Cleaned Up Sun May 24, 2009 4:18 pm
The blood of a suicide victim drains down into someone's condo. It collected in his ceiling and even dripped into his light fixture. Now, there's a fight to get it cleaned up!
By Delaine Mathieu
"That's blood?" I ask Mike Dunlop, pointing to a spot on a light fixture in his apartment.
"Yeah," he answers.
It is human blood that dried inside Dunlop's light fixture and living room ceiling.
"I think the smell is almost gone," he reassures himself.
It came from a man who killed himself in the condo above. Weeks later, the maintenance man found him.
"I went to the front door and kicked it open and the smell was so bad I came running down," describes Johnny Brietgke, the maintenance man.
Investigators told Mike they found his neighbor lying on the couch. Mike thinks the fluids soaked through the floor and into some holes near the water heater.
That was months ago.
"I've been trying to get it cleaned up ever since," he says.
In condominiums, the company that manages them is technically responsible for repairs in ceilings. This one needs to be ripped out to get to the blood.
"I would say that a company accustomed to doing that with blood...could just clean it up," says Mike.
But Dunlop says the company that runs the complex, Procomm, doesn't want to hire a crime scene cleaning crew. Instead, guess who they recruited for the job: Johnny.
"Are you up to cleaning up blood and fluids?" I ask Johnny.
"Uh, not really," he answers.
I took Dunlop's concerns to Deborah Gerhards of Crime Clean of Texas. "As an expert in the field, let me say that I would not advise that."
Deborah Gerhards and her crew clean crime scenes for a living in San Antonio. She says without protective gear and training, it's not safe to clean up blood, even if it's dry.
"Anytime someone decomposes, you have a lot of bacteria in the scene," adds Deborah.
And, Procomm could be violating a federal law by making Johnny do it.
According to OSHA, an employee cannot clean up bio-hazardous waste like blood, without being properly trained.
We left several messages with Procomm and even showed up at their door.
"No comment" is the only reply we got.
The smell in Mike's condo is finally gone, but the thought of his neighbor's body fluids sitting in his ceiling is not sitting very well with him at all.
"Why did this happen to me?" he asks. "I don't know."
Dunlop hired an attorney to help get his ceiling cleaned professionally.
We'll let you know what happens.