It’s been a while since I posted here, so I thought I’d add a new FAQ post.  I get a lot of questions about this business, and thought this would be a good place to answer some of them:

  • WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE BODY?  Actually, we never see the body, unless we’re called while the police are still there.  We don’t start restorations until after the scene has been cleared by police, and the decedent has been taken to the funeral home or medical examiner’s office.  Often times, the scene will be closed for several days while a potential crime is being investigated, after which we can come in and clean up.  Sometimes, for instance in a suicide, the scene is released almost immediately, and we can come in as soon as we are called.  We are available 24 hours a day as the need arises.
  • MY TENANTS SMOKED METHAMPHETAMINE IN THE HOME, BUT NEVER COOKED.  IS OUR PROPERTY STILL A “METH HOUSE”?  Yes!  Cooking meth contaminates mainly the room in which it’s cooked, mostly by the chemicals used in the production of the drug.  Homes where meth is smoked are contaminated by the smoke, which effects the entire house.  In both incidents, the home has to be thoroughly checked and cleaned before it’s safe to inhabit, and in some cases, if the contamination is severe enough, the house is not salvageable.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking because meth was not cooked in your rental property, that it is not a danger to you and your tenants.  And as an aside, because I have heard this as well, when we present to a “meth house”, the house is already cleared of drugs and chemicals by police and/or hazmat units, so neither the drug, nor the chemicals used, are lying around waiting to be picked up!
  • DO YOU CLEAN WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOODS AND FIRES?  We can, but there are other companies who specialize in fire/water damage.  Service Masters is a good example of such a company, and we would be glad to send referrals over to someone better equipped to meet your needs in that department.
  • WILL YOU RESTORE OUR HOME AS GOOD A NEW?  We try our best to give you back the home you had pre-tragedy.; however, sometimes our decontamination process will require more restoration afterwards.  For instance, if tile has been broken from a gun shot, we can clean the room, remove the broken tile, and insure that there is no contamination in the wall or floor boards, but we do not do the tile work ourselves.  We do, however, have a team of independent contractors available 24/7 to help restore your home.  Our biggest concern is the safety of the people who need to enter the home after such an event; our colleagues are there to make sure you can enter with the least amount of visual trauma as possible.
  • WHY ARE YOU TAKING PICTURES?  We take pictures of every scene we work on.  These pictures are important to protect everyone in the event that there’s a misunderstanding, but more important, it’s an excellent way to document the scene for your insurance company, to insure prompt compensation for repairs and cleanup.  We do not use your family tragedy for before and after pictures, ever.  If the scene is not a private home or a situation where no one’s privacy will be intruded upon, we may ask for permission to include before and after pictures in our portfolio, but only with written permission.
  • I HEARD PEOPLE IN YOUR BUSINESS STEAL FROM DISTRESSED HOMES: While it’s true some companies are unscrupulous, this is also true of many industries.  One thing we like to do to protect both parties is a video walk through of the property with a family member in attendance, documenting what is there . . . and what isn’t there.  It’s not unheard of for some family members or friends to descend on a distressed home and try to claim property as their own after someone passes.  We do our best to make sure nothing disappears from the scene, and let family lawyers deal with distribution of property!
  • THAT (FILL IN THE BLANK) IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME; IT HAS SENTIMENTAL VALUE.  DOES IT HAVE TO BE DESTROYED?  We do our best to clean and preserve everything we can in a home.  Sometimes, however, an item might be too damaged or contaminated to save.  We discuss this with family, but try our hardest to make sure that family heirlooms are preserved in a condition that will allow them to continue to be passed on through generations.

If you have any question about this industry or our business in particular, please do not hesitate to leave a comment!

Enjoy your summer, be safe, and look out for one another!


Aside  —  Posted: June 30, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Looking out for One Another

Posted: March 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

Lately, as you all know, the Willamette Valley has seen some pretty strange weather.  We’ve gone from shorts and T-shirt weather, to snow and temperatures dropping below freezing.


This freak snow storm that recently passed did more than make the city sparkle with crystals of ice; it also broke trees and bushes, and caused power outages to a significant portion of the city.  Many people were still without power 2 days in.


It’s important, in times like these, for all of us to keep our eyes and ears open, looking out for one another.  With power gone, there is an increased risk of home invasions/burglaries, accidents, and the sick and elderly perishing due to the freezing  temperature.


I’m urging everyone to keep an eye out for their neighbors, especially if your neighborhood had experienced power outages.  If you haven’t seen your neighbor for a couple of days, investigate or send the police over to do a well check.


I would rather a life be  saved today than to have business next week when the power comes back on and the temperature warms up.


So, count heads, make sure everyone’s OK, and enjoy the Spring . . . when it finally gets here!

Is there reason for concern as December 21, 2012 rapidly approaches?  I’m not talking about the end of the world as we know it, or even the Mayan calendar that is said to end on that date (although how a round calendar can end is beyond me).  It’s the perception of eminent world destruction that has me worried.  I’m concerned that with all the predictions, the sensationalism, the bad Hollywood movies, and the not knowing will cause some people to panic.

When Harold Camping predicted the rapture, it didn’t surprise me that there wasn’t a huge increase in suicides around the predicted date.  After all, his warnings had a Christian lean to them, no matter how twisted.  Of course people weren’t going to want to commit suicide right before the big date; it would have been breaking a huge Christian taboo right before the final exams, so to speak.  There was, however, one suicide by a young girl who feared being left behind.  She killed herself on the predicted day of destruction.  Camping should be ashamed of himself.

When Y2K rolled around (you do remember that little bit of panic, right?), it was predicted that there would be mass suicides on New Year’s Eve 1999.  In fact, there was talk of suicide parties with Jim Jones’ punch recipe, or murder/suicides as the new year was rung in.  Not surprising, none of this happened.

Now, with 2012 looming up and everyone offering an opinion about what’s going to happen, from new age gurus to NASA scientist, the warnings about suicides have once again started to surface.

It is doubtful that there is any validity to the fear of increased suicides as we approach 12/21/2012, certainly not mass suicides, but there is still the possibility that on a person-to-person basis, the fear of 2012 could be the tipping point.

The difference here is the predictors of mass suicides are talking about otherwise rational people – people who are not depressed – killing themselves because of a calendar that is thousands of years old.  I’m talking about people who are already depressed or mentally ill being pushed over the edge.

Either way, it’s important to keep an eye out on at-risk folks and learn to recognize the signs:

  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness.
  • Talking about suicide.
  • Planning suicide (i.e. buying a gun or researching poisons).
  • Setting one’s affairs in order (giving away personal items).
  • A sudden reversal of depression (many times, when a person has made the decision to die, he becomes happier, his mood lighter, because in his mind there is an end in sight).
  • Loss of interest in things that once brought happiness or joy.
  • Saying good-bye (visiting relatives and friends one last time).
  • Withdrawing (wanting to make the “break” easier).
  • Becoming reckless or careless with one’s own life.
  • Increase in substance abuse.

If you see these signs in a loved one, please do not hesitate to call a professional to take him or her in to the emergency room.  Trained mental health professionals are available to help assess and diffuse the danger.

If you are having feelings of suicide, please talk to someone you can trust or take yourself in to the emergency room.  Most likely the cause of these suicidal feelings (a change in brain chemistry, a change in living situations or other personal issues, the loss of a loved one, or even the fear of a doomsday prophecy) are temporary, and help is available to get you through the rough patch.  There’s no sense in taking a permanent step for a temporary problem.  The last thing I want is for your family to have to call my company in to clean up.

Take care of yourselves and one another.  I predict I’ll be seeing all of you in 2013!

Please allow me to introduce myself, for the purpose of this Blog, my name is Kenny. I have been a police officer in two major US Cities for about 15 years. The first city was New York, where I worked in arguably the busiest (and most violent) precinct for over 11 years. My career spanned patrol, Anti-Crime, Auto-Larceny, and a slew of other Special operations.

During that time, I have witnessed more homicides, suicides, and natural deaths then I care to think about, but if I had to guess, I would estimate well into the hundreds.

If you are reading this, you are either preparing for a worst case scenario or may have just experienced a recent loss (or maybe you are simply curious about how to deal with a decedent from a law enforcement point of view). Read the rest of this entry »

What defines a crime scene?  When should professionals be called in?  Are crime scene cleanup companies called only when someone dies?

When the average person thinks of crime scene cleanup, they imagine a murder or suicide, blood splattered everywhere, something you would see on ‘Dexter’.  In fact, while we do clean murder and suicide scenes, we also clean scenes where no one has died.   Any major traumatic event could necessitate a professional coming in and cleaning the scene.   A person who is shot and lives, for instance, is going to bleed out more than a person who dies instantly.  Often there’s no crime committed at all.  An unattended death may not be discovered for quite some time.  The task of cleaning up such scenes falls to professionals in the biorecovery business. Read the rest of this entry »