People usually think murder scenes are the worst ones we have to deal with, but that’s not necessarily true.

A murder scene usually involves a small area. Often, this is only one room. Compare that with drug and hoarder houses where the entire place – every room – is packed with everything imaginable, including nasty garbage, filth and possible hazards.

A few months back, we got a call for such a place. While not really unusual for this kind of assignment, reflecting on the job offers some insight into what a monumental task it is to clean up such a site – and why professionals like us at Advanced Bio Treatment need to do it.

We arrived on the scene of a job in a middle-class neighborhood outside of Arlington, VA.

It wasn’t a run-down area at all. Homes were relatively neat and well-maintained. In fact, when we got to the address, we thought maybe it was the wrong place because the grass was cut, the landscaping was neat, and nothing looked different from the other houses. Except that you couldn’t see inside at all because every window had the blinds closed on a day with full sunshine.

But we double-checked and yes, it was the right place. What we knew was that a man was recently evicted through a foreclosure action. His mother was the original owner, and she had died a few years earlier. The son, on disability, couldn’t maintain the mortgage payments once his mother’s inheritance ran out (even though it was a substantial sum).

Once we opened the door, the sights and smells were as nasty as any hoarding, crack, or meth house we encounter in the ghetto. Obviously, the man had a serious drinking problem, and possibly drugs as well. Beer cans were piled up waist high in several rooms – and mixed among the cans were garbage, decomposing food, pizza boxes, and dirty clothes.

We couldn’t understand why the outside was so clean until a chatty neighbor told us the story. According to her, the occupant’s son would cut the grass and clean up the outside about once every two weeks. Seems they didn’t dare attempt to do any kind of indoor cleanup.

We needed a large commercial dumpster to get rid of the refuse. Extra crew members were needed to help. Once the garbage and debris were out of the house, we had to remove carpeting and other surfaces.

Blood, beer and urine (both dog and human) were soaked into subfloors in several rooms. These needed treatment, as did the HVAC venting system because of dog hair and odor.

This was a cleanup that would be impossible without professionals like us. To clean up a drug or hoarder house like this to the point where it’s odor-free, germ-free and safe takes specialists like us. We’ll handle everything involved with the cleanup and certify the property clean and safe when we finish.

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