Skip to main content

Christian Cadieux, 31, owner of Crime and Trauma Scene Cleaners Inc., Toronto

I've been called everything from a real-life CSI to a forensic technician's worst nightmare. But the one I love is "Death's Janitor." When there's been a violent crime-a suicide, a car accident-I go in and clean it up.

I have a bachelor's in business administration with a minor in criminology, and an MBA in marketing. After school, I joined up with a company in the U.S. that trained me.

Fifteen minutes after the heart stops beating, the body starts to decompose. Body fluids are released-blood, urine, feces. They seep through carpets, underlay and floorboards, into the substrates. And the odour will wick out on a hot day.

Blood is extremely tenacious, and it moves like a Frisbee. It goes up stairs, around corners, behind picture frames. My greatest enemy is not HIV-that's the least of my worries. What we battle on a regular basis is hepatitis B, because in dried blood it's stable for a week. All it takes is some blood to get into your eyes, nose or mouth, and you're infected. I wear a Kleen Guard Ultra suit and a North 7600 full-face respirator mask. I can wear this during an outbreak of avian flu.

The worst smell I ever encountered was on one of my first jobs, in Texas. A young lady had come into some money. Her brother didn't like the amount he was going to get, so he blew everybody away with a pump shotgun and then killed himself. It was like The Amityville Horror. Four bodies were found after two months, in the middle of August, with no air circulation.

What separates the artists from the butchers is, a butcher will come in, cut out a piece of the carpet, and off he goes. An artist knows how to keep the physical structure intact. I do disinfection and odour remediation. I have a carpenter who works with me, and an automotive electrician for vehicle decontamination-a growing part of my business.

Crime and Trauma Scene Cleaners is a division of another small company I own, Biohazard Canada. I incorporated the name to capitalize on the hottest show on TV, CSI. Our slogan is, "After you call 911, call us."

Interact with The Globe