As a professional crime scene cleanup field technician, I know that traumatic events are unpredictable and I don’t expect clients to straighten messy closets, do the dishes or make their bed before we arrive to bring order in the aftermath of the chaotic incident that they have been exposed to.

But sometimes, the homes we see go far beyond clutter or needing some light housework. Over my career I have entered the homes of about a dozen people who could be diagnosed as hoarders — and countless others who came close. Then there are the homes that have been destroyed by those ill with the affliction of addiction.

The experiences are always different between the cases, but one thing is guaranteed… you don’t soon forget the sensory overload of being in such an unbelievably devastated property, or dealing with the family members who may have been victimized by their loved one’s illness for many years before we are called.

One home we were recently involved with was located in a sunny, rural community just outside of Baltimore, Maryland.

The residence was situated on a street that was referred to as a ‘Holler,’ or a narrow street built in the valley between two areas of elevation, forming a road where residents can just ‘holler’ down the road at a neighbor for a cup of sugar because of the natural acoustics of the cliffs on either side.

Apparently, the house had been a foreclosure and had been sitting vacant for sometime. Finally, the bank sold the mortgage to an auction service, who proceeded to auction off the home, sight unseen to the potential buyer. That buyer was our client, and the portly, middle aged man who now stood in front of the home, had gotten more than he had bargained for. Literally. Brief introductions gave way to an explanation.

Transients, most likely meth users judging from his description of what awaited us inside, had taken advantage of the vacant property the bank had reclaimed from the previous owner. He told us that they had practically ruined the interior structure of the home. But often, things look worse than they really are in his situation. Not in this case however. It was much worse than it looked.

Unlocking the front door, he motioned for us to grab our noses, and led the way into the living room of the house. There, we began to examine the damage left behind by the drug users.

Holes had been knocked into large portions of dry wall, either intentionally for a thrill, or accidental, and cigarette butts and ashes were literally everywhere.

Huge piles of trash, mostly consisting of alcohol bottles, and fast food left overs, were scattered throughout the home, along with various drug paraphernalia which confirmed my suspicions. In the bathrooms, urine and feces clogged every toilet, sink and bathtub.

The back master bedroom had also appeared to have been turned into a working meth lab at some point, and the cleanup took a very serious, complicated turn. Meth lab clean ups require specialized equipment, training and procedures, to safely remediate.

We are certified HAZWOPER and Tennessee certified for Methamphetamine (Meth) Lab Cleaning. Methamphetamine or Meth production and its ingredients can cause severe lung and eye damage, chemical burns, and even death as well as the risk for fire or explosion. Chemicals used to “cook” meth and other meth lab photo compounds formed during the cooking process can contaminate not only a structure, but the plumbing, A/C and heat system, yard, well and septic.

For Meth lab decontamination we deploy a three-step process to help protect you, your family, guests and tenants. The process takes 5 to 30 days.

The first step requires a comprehensive site survey and work plan. The survey will consist of obtaining and evaluating law enforcement agency reports, both local and DEA. Then shipping manifests for the chemicals and cooking equipment removed from the site, cooking methods used, determination of contamination in land, wells and septics, heat and a/c system type and design. Also structural contamination issues and necessary deconstruction areas and disposal areas in yard. That’s just to name some of the information needed to create a work plan. After completing the site survey, a work plan and bid for the Meth lab cleanup will be prepared for you.

Next, we decontaminate the site to meet your state’s guidelines or the state of Tennessee’s should your state have no official regulatory guidance.

This process generally takes one to ten days depending on the size and level of contamination of the site. We handle everything, A to Z, including disposal of hazardous materials that are associated with meth labs and will be produced for you.

Last, we have a certified Industrial Hygienist that will do post sampling to determine and certify that the methamphetamine lab site is now decontaminated to a level within regulatory specification.

You will be provided with this certification so that you may remove your property from quarantine, sell it, move back in or re-rent it. It is important to note that we do not do the post sampling ourselves for obvious conflict of interest reasons. We do hire a non-associated company to handle that for us and you.

In this case, we got more than we bargained for… all of us. But all in all, it took about a week before the property was considered safe for humans again.

The whole process could have been extremely stressful, but luckily, our client, the homeowner, made the right choice to call the professionals at Advanced Bio Treatment, and we were able to restore not only his property, but also his peace of mind.

Advanced Bio Treatment is the aftermath cleanup company that protects you and your family by doing the job with well-trained courteous employees. Whether the incident has occurred at your home, rental property or place of business, or industrial facility, you can trust our certified scene cleanup teams to do a thorough job while abiding by OSHA regulations.

If you are a family friend or relative, we can work with you as an agent so the family is saved the hardship. In the case you will not be there to shield your loved ones, we will gladly handle that for you as much as possible by handling the paperwork by fax if you prefer. There’s also a referral fee, up to $500, in it for you!

If you need blood clean-up guidance, have questions about your payment options, which crime scene clean up procedures your current insurance policy covers or require our blood cleanup services immediately, give Advanced Bio Treatment a call at 800-295-1684

photo credit: 16 Miles of String via photopin cc
Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment