DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO/CNN) - An Iowa family of seven has been forced from their home over health concerns after their basement filled with nearly 5 inches of animal blood, fat and bones, as a result of drainage from a meat locker next door.
Officials confirmed the substance in Nick Lestina’s basement was animal blood, fat and bones. (Source: Nick Lestina/WHO/Tribune/CNN)
Nick Lestina and his family have lived next door to Dahl’s Custom Meat Locker in Bagley, Iowa, for 10 years without issue. But as they were getting ready to sell the home, their basement was flooded with animal blood.
Many of the belongings in the basement were destroyed, including a bed they were saving for their 1-year-old son.
"I was shocked at first, but I had a pretty good idea where it came from,” Lestina said.
Lestina says his neighbors were dumping hog and cattle remains down a floor drain, which is connected to his pipes, so the remains ended up in his basement. He immediately reported the incident to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
"Nobody wants to see that, smell that. I wouldn't want for anybody to have that in their house,” Lestina said.
Officials confirmed the substance in Lestina’s basement was animal blood, fat and bones. The DNR contacted the Iowa Department of Health due to potential health hazards.
"They told us concurrently we shouldn't stay in the house because of the biohazard,” Lestina said.
The department recommended the family of seven live somewhere else while the house is cleaned. Lestina says the meat locker has been noncompliant in helping cover any costs.
"They haven’t reached out at all. They haven’t taken any accountability for it. They say it’s not their fault and told me ‘good luck.’ If I want to do anything with it, it’s on my dime and my schedule,” Lestina said. “I definitely don’t have thousands of dollars sitting around to throw at this.”
The meat locker owners have since apologized for the ordeal and are planning on paying for the cleanup.
"We're taking responsibility for it. It wasn't our fault, we didn't intentionally put the blood down there. We didn't want this to happen. We feel for them. I'd be just as mad as they are, in their shoes," co-owner Kaitlin Dahl said.
The state is continuing to investigate the matter. The meat locker was told to stop discharge until a permanent solution can be put in place.
"I really wouldn't wish this on anybody, but all I can do is keep moving forward and try to take care of the problem,” Lestina said.
Copyright 2019 WHO-DT, Tribune, Nick Lestina via CNN. All rights reserved. Gray Media Group, Inc., contributed to this report.