TC Griffin got a lot of business in early 2008, when the economy turned sour. They must have had five or six jobs in Anniversary Edition Corvettes. TC owns a company called Bio-Hazard Services Inc. They specialize in cleaning up crime scenes, suicides, blood, and bio-hazards.
We heard about TC because Laurie Brown, a DJ on CBC Radio, accidentally ended up on his webpage. I had never thought about who has to do the clean up when someone commits suicide or there is a violent crime. You assume the police have someone who does that kind of thing, or perhaps the ambulance people.
As it turns out, the clean up usually falls to the family, or whoever is left behind. If they don’t or can’t do it, somebody calls a cleaner. But as TC told us, when you have bodily fluids involved, you really want to be careful. Helpful family members usually use bleach and paper towels and don’t always wear gloves. Often, cleaning services have not been trained to deal with blood spattered all over the wall or two years accumulation of three Great Dane’s doo doo.
We called TC to ask if we could speak with him about the business and he suggested we go out for pizza. When we arrived at our rendezvous (the parking lot of a funeral parlor in Douglas, Georgia), we had no trouble recognizing TC and his wife and their Biohazard Services Inc vehicles. The biohazard symbol is hard to miss.
TC said his company cleans up everything from accidental deaths to suicides and crime scenes to hoarder houses. “You ever seen that show called Buried Alive? We do a lot of that.” TC got into the business because he is a licensed funeral director and embalmer and he saw a lot of people who didn’t know what to do with the mess their dearly departed loved ones left behind. TC loads all the biohazard materials into an 18 by 18 foot lead-lined container that is two feet deep. When the container is full, he delivers his biohazards to a medical incinerator.
Before we parted, TC handed us a red faux-leather photo album. It’s corners were worn and the golden trim was flaking off in little bits. The first thing that hit me was that he was giving me some family photos to take a look at.
Inside the book are the before and after photos TC takes of every job. The pictures show people in white or blue hazmat suits with gas masks cleaning up blood spilled on mattresses and in vehicles, it shows houses overwhelmed with a hoarder’s accumulation of little things. The pictures are startling, but somehow their power is muted by the fact that they are in this cheap photo album, like the favorite photos from some fondly remembered road trip in the 1990s.