“Hoarding 101”. Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that can devastate lives and property. Personal belongings become mixed with garbage and waste until living areas are unsanitary. Rooms become unusable as refuse piles up on tables, countertop, and floors.

Its amazing how many of these calls we actually get.

You never think that someone in your neighborhood is literally living in their own filth, in conditions you wouldn’t subject wild animals to.  Some of these cases really have to be seen to be believed.

One call we took a few months ago involved a absolutely unfathomable hoard.  These types of mental illnesses used to be very well hidden from the rest of society, until channels like TLC started doing specials on the horrors we see on a daily basis.


But seeing it on TV and actually being in the afflicted home is two totally different things.


On this particular job, we had been hired by a very upset landlord.  He just kept repeating that he’d never seen that much trash in one spot except at landfills… thats when I knew it would be bad.  Boy, was that an understatement.

The home was located in a relatively new housing development just east of Birmingham, Alabama.  The neighborhood was made up mostly of young families, and as we pulled into the driveway of the address listed on our work order, a group of local children ran up to us to begin the inquisition… I kid, but they were certainly full of questions.

“What are you guys going to be doing in the home?”, one small boy asked…

“Cleaning, would you like to help?” I replied, knowing what would be the answer.

“No thank you!” came the resounding reply from more than a few of the little mouths.

Watching them run off, we were approached by the homeowner, a middle aged man who appeared to be quite distraught about the condition of his home.  After a brief introduction to the process we use to remediate such cases, he began to give us a run down on what to expect and how it had come to this.

Apparently, he had been renting the home to a couple in their early thirties, one of whom worked for a computer gaming company while the other spent most of her time volunteering at a local animal shelter.  They had, by all accounts, seemed to the homeowner as good people… No children, no pets and very quiet. The perfect tenants. Or so he thought.

When they were uncharacteristically late paying their rent one month, he tried to be understanding and give them an extension on payment.  Unfortunately, it was all a ruse.  After they had thoroughly wasted this man’s home, and realizing that they would not be getting their security deposit back(and most likely becoming tired of living in the disaster they had created inside) they jumped ship and took off.

Its a story I’ve heard many times… these individuals move into a beautiful home, destroy it and make it unlivable before they pack up their belongings and abandon the home to find another to tear up.  It can make you so angry.

WIthout further ado, we were led inside the home and stopped cold in our tracks.  The smell was indescribable, but if I had to put it into words, I would say that the odor was reminiscent of a trash heap on a hot day… and I would still fall short of accurately conveying the solidity of the putrid wake…

And after seeing the contents of the home, it made a lot of sense why it reeked so bad…

Piles of trash and refuse, as high as the ceiling in some places, were littered every where inside the home.  How these people demolished this home in such record time is a 64,000 $ question. It was unreal.

The fridge in the kitchen would prove to be one of the worst parts about this particular case.  The previous residents responsible for the mess had evidently been big seafood fans.  Let that sink in.  The fridge was full of the stinkiest, decomposing mass of unidentifiable sea life that I could have ever dreamt existed in all the world.  And to top it off, the woman being a volunteer at a local animal shelter, had brought home an untold number of dead rats to feed what, I have no idea… a snake? That added a whole new dimension to our task…. and it had me really jumpy every time I moved a box or bundle of garbage. I never knew what I was going to run into.

The cleanup took about three days to complete and involved the complete removal of hundreds of pounds of waste and debris left behind by these sick individuals.  After that we had to totally sanitize and restore the home including flooring, sub flooring in some spots, dry wall and ceilings, which had to be properly decontaminated to ensure the safety and health of future renters.  Last, we had to tackle the smell so we brought in special deodorizers as well as our Ozone Machine which eliminates odors on a molecular level. Finally, the job was finished and I was able to turn our client’s troubled frown into a relieved smile.

On the last day of the job, while loading my gear back into the van, the little boy from the first day skipped up to me.

“Did you get it cleaned up in there?” he asked.

With a smile, I handed him his own face mask and replied,

“We always do…”

Regardless of whether the scene is at your home and personal property, a commercial business, or industrial site, we’ll strictly adhere to OSHA regulations and API Worksafe guidelines in our cleanup efforts. We only deploy EPA registered hospital grade cleansers and disinfectants.

If you need trauma or accidental death clean-up guidance, have questions about your payment options or current insurance policy covers don’t hesitate to give Advanced Bio Treatment a call at: 800-295-1684.


Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment