We are reminded too often in this business that blood and body fluids can find their way into unexpected, hard to reach places. The bathroom is no exception. We got the call that someone passed away on the floor in the narrow space between the toilet and bathtub of a 1-bedroom apartment. Estimated time of decomposition: 3 weeks. (A 3-week decomp in a confined space with no windows creates a less than pleasant odor, btw)
We started this job like any other; working our way into the contaminated area from the door of the room toward the greatest concentration of fluids. After making our way to the bathtub, we discovered that fluids had fortunately not found entry into the space between the tub and the floor. Our job is often greatly impacted by the timing of updates to a home. Fresh caulking and grout can prevent fluids from getting into cracks or under flooring; which is why for this particular job, we didn’t have to pull the tub. We weren’t so lucky with the toilet.
The caulking around the toilet had rotted away and we could see that fluids were able to get into the space between the toilet and the vinyl flooring. Vinyl flooring now has to be pulled. But because there’s no seal between the base of the toilet and the subflooring, the contamination is likely to make it’s way under the toilet as well. Time to pull the toilet. Then more bad news; a busted drain ring and widespread contamination in the base of the toilet, throughout the broken drain ring and into the mouth of the drain.
Jobs like these remind us that contamination isn’t just what’s visible. The depth and detail of the job are often revealed to us as we work through it. This is why it is critical that crime scene cleaning be done meticulously; considering every possibility.