When the Long-Dead Are Finally Found, He Cleans Up

Scene Clean goes in when the cops leave
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2015 10:58 AM CST

(Newser) – "Diabetics' bodies have a stronger odor when they decompose. There’s certain diseases that smell stronger." That is one of the things Nate Berg has learned over the past three years of cleaning up after the dead. Berg is president of Scene Clean, a Minnesota biohazard business that specializes in cleaning up after people die and their bodies aren’t discovered for weeks or months. In a lengthy MinnPost profile written by Andy Mannix, Berg talks about his business, which he started in 2012 after more than a decade of being a paramedic. Despite the gore he encounters in his new profession, "it’s never once affected me like when I worked the streets," he says. "It happened, it's done with, it's over. Now let’s help the others left behind get past it."

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As of early December, Scene Clean had worked 157 jobs this year, Mannix writes. The goal is to make it look like a death—often a suicide or murder—never happened in the house. Berg says the process is like "peeling the layers off an onion. You just gotta keep pulling back those layers until you don’t find anymore body material." And it’s not just a matter of aesthetics; decomposing bodies present a range of health risks to the living. Clean Scene crews often wear hazmat gear, and clean-up can include tearing out and replacing floors to remove biomaterial. Many of Berg’s 16 employees have backgrounds in emergency response or the military. His advice on approaching a cleanup: "I just tell them, 'all it is is ketchup on the floor, with maybe some macaroni.'" The fascinating profile is here. (Meanwhile, this website will tell you if anyone ever died in your house.)

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