Tonight on Eyewitness News at 10 p.m.: While some jobs can be downright dirty and tough, there are some that require workers to be wide awake while Houston sleeps. Meet the men and women who take on the #GraveyardShift.
For the past two years, Daren Harrison and TJ Reese have scrubbed Houston's homicides.
"You can catch anything from hair follicles to brain matter to pieces of skulls," Harrison said.
"You're looking at it as a movie, as a horror movie," Reese said.
To show us how it's done, the pair's company, Bio One Houston, created a scene using corn syrup. It took about 30 minutes to clean, but normally, jobs last for hours.
"We're really good at sleuthing out those types of splatters and other touch points around a room where people might have spread the blood and other bodily fluid," Bio One Houston owner George Morrison said.
Bio One Houston cleans homicides and suicides. Visuals aren't the only tough part of the job.
Dealing with bodily fluids means employees have to be careful. Crews are covered from head-to-toe.
The materials they work with aren't found on store shelves either. The solution in their bottles are strong enough to kill blood-borne viruses, including HIV and Ebola.
Employees do more than clean crime scenes. They also tackle sewage, accidents, and hoarding, which can be some of the hardest assignments.
"Feces everywhere," Reese recalled a hoarding situation. "One bedroom apartment. Everywhere."
When hoarding requires help
According to experts, these are the signs to look for when a loved one has become a hoarder:
- Mess becomes overwhelming
- You tried to clean, but can't do it alone
- You don't know where to start
- Animals creating bio-hazards with feces and urine
Clearly, it's not a line of work for everyone, but there's a surprising reason why Bio One Houston's owner got involved.
"We're not coming in to judge," Morrison said. "We're not coming in to laugh at them, or point fingers, or have our jaws drop. We're here to help."
Morrison bought the company five months ago, but his call for helping with hazardous cleanup started years ago in the mortuary.
"I realized pretty quickly that it was not going to be a problem and you can't gross me out anymore," Morrison said.
Now, he's turned his strong stomach into ownership and profits, with branches in Houston and Austin. Cleaning up a scene can cost clients thousands of dollars.
The good news is it can be covered by insurance, and there's even financial help for crime victims. It's a necessary service to wipe away the mess some people leave behind.
"You get to help people in their worst moments," Harrison said. "That's the best part of this job is you get to help people at their worst."
The only education you need to get into this line of work is a high school diploma. Qualifications go beyond education. Employees must be able to lift heavy objects, take blood-borne pathogens courses, and of course, have the stomach to handle gory scenes.
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