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After the Tragedy, the Tidying Up


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After the Tragedy, the Tidying Up
Topic: Home and Garden 2:56 pm EST, Jan 27, 2008

The phones were quiet Wednesday morning at the narrow office of Bio-Recovery Corporation, in a sign-less brick building opposite Calvary Cemetery in Long Island City, Queens. Every so often, a dot-matrix printer with a bad ribbon ticked off a bulletin from somewhere in the region — “*Overturned Auto* Linden Blvd and Kings Highway” — but these weren’t the kind of calls that Ron Gospodarski and Manny Sosa were waiting for.

In the bluntest terms, they were waiting for someone to die. Mr. Gospodarski, the president of Bio-Recovery, and Mr. Sosa, his only full-time employee, spend much of their time cleaning up trauma scenes, places where people have been killed, or killed themselves, or just died in a messy way. After the police have left and the body has been removed — or, as Mr. Gospodarski put it, “the big part is gone” — is when they go to work, cleaning up whatever is left.

On Jan. 1, a new city law took effect that requires first responders to tell the often-shocked people at a home or another trauma scene about clean-up methods, and to refer them to a Web site for information about financial aid and about companies like Mr. Gospodarski’s.

Owing, perhaps, to a certain voyeurism in human nature, Bio-Recovery has had much attention from the news media. Nevertheless, when people need help, they often think they must tackle the grim cleanup themselves, and Mr. Gospodarski hopes the new law will change that.

“All I wanted from our perspective, honestly, was to make the city agencies inform people that there’s people out there who can help them — if they choose,” he said.

His company, which also cleans up mold, human waste and the like, used to advertise in the Yellow Pages. But the work is hard to describe. “We listed ourselves under housecleaning,” he said. “And to this day, we get calls, people saying, ‘Do you do housecleaning?’ And I say, ‘What kind of housecleaning do you mean?’ ”

I had no clue this type of buisness existed. I have wondered in passing what happens in these situations once the investigation is over. It is good to see that people can reach out for help in the clean up process.

After the Tragedy, the Tidying Up

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