Blood and embalming fluid oozed out of a Baton Rouge, Louisiana funeral home on Thursday, leaving local residents wondering how such a horror-movie scenario could occur in real life.
The red substance, which leaked for about 20 minutes, was reportedly blood mixed with formaldehyde.
William Daniel, director of city-parish environmental services, said blockage in a sewage line caused the blood, which was infused with the embalming fluid, to leak from a storage tank.
Given that the leak occurred on private property, the liquid mix didn’t make its way into the city’s sewage system.
“We sent out both our sewer inspector and our environmental specialists to take a look. We determined that it wasn’t a sewer issue and that it was an issue on private property,” said Adam Smith, an official with the City of Baton Rouge Department of Environmental Services.
The city didn’t indicate whether the funeral home will be given a citation, but said it’s under new management and had not yet acquired a business permit with the city.
Daniel said the department of environmental services has been focused on restaurants clogging the sewers with grease, not funeral homes and their usage of sewage lines.
Daniel said his department has made attempts to expedite the funeral home’s permit since the incident occurred.
“We’ve moved them to the top, and we’re going to be reaching out to all of them to get a permit,” he said.
The funeral home said it was aware that there had been a “malfunction” in some of its sewage lines and equipment, and said it immediately took action to stop the leak.
“As soon as we noticed it, we were able to immediately stop the leak, clean and disinfect the area,” the funeral home said. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused visitors to our cemetery.”
Jessica Koth, public relations manager for the National Funeral Directors Association, said the leak was “very unusual” and the first leak she has heard of since joining the organization 11 years ago.
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