Crime scene cleaners document their grueling work hours dealing with biohazards, hoarders: 'You have to have a strong stomach, you have to really want to help people'
Editor’s Note: This article contains some graphic imagery and mentions of suicide or suicidal ideation. Please take care while reading, and note the helpful resources at the end of this story.
Two co-workers are pulling back the curtain for TikTok when it comes to their unusual but very necessary jobs as crime scene cleaners.
Tom DeSena and Junior Lallbachan are based in Florida but travel up and down the East Coast to clean up biohazards from crime scenes or extreme hoarder situations for the company, National Crime Scene Cleanup. The 20-somethings decided to start documenting some of their days on the job in October 2022 and have since grown their audience base to over 200,000 followers.
“You have to have a strong stomach, you have to really want to help people, and you need to be able to work 24/7 (on call),” DeSena and Lallbachan answered in response to a commenter asking how to get into the field. “You need GED as well.”
According to their videos, DeSena and Lallbachan’s days can really start anytime. One of their first videos documents their drive to West Virginia for a job and they hit the road at around 9 p.m. on a Saturday night.
The duo also confirmed that they also get paid for the drives, especially since they arrived at the job site at noon the following Sunday.
Long hours aside, it’s hard work too, although dealing with hoarding situations versus crime scenes has different levels of difficulty. In one comment, either DeSena and Lallbachan wrote the hoarding tends to be more physically strenuous, while crime scenes are a challenge mentally. There’s also no consistency in their day-to-day.
“Every single day is different,” DeSena told Business Insider. “Whether it’s a similar death, weapon, or demographic of people, it’s always unique. You can only prepare so much.”
A recent series of videos dedicated to what DeSena and Lallbachan have dubbed the “Coors Light house” have caught the attention of several million viewers. The hoarder job, which is based in Florida, showed a house covered in 3- to 4-feet-high piles of empty Coors Light cans and boxes.
“I can’t wrap my head around how someone could live this way,” a commenter wrote. “Did they die or just decide to get help with the hoard?”
“Decided for help. I’m not a doctor, but I don’t think it’s a choice (anymore), after a certain amount of, poor choices made. If that makes sense,” DeSena and Lallbachan replied.
After an hour of work, DeSena showed how much they had been able to clear from the house. “Barely made a dent,” he said, explaining that a project like this house would be “days’ worth of work.”
“it’s so sad that this is some people’s reality and is suffering,” another commenter wrote. “you gentlemen work so hard to help people at their lowest.”
Providing help to people who need it is exactly why DeSena and Lallbachan got into the job in the first place. According to Business Insider, the two have been working together since 2020 when DeSena, then 20, applied to work at National Crime Scene Cleanup. Lallbachan had been working there for five years at that point.
“The pay is good, but respect is a big thing for me,” DeSena told Business Insider. “I enjoy my work, and I don’t think there are many people who feel as much passion (for the job) as Junior and I do.”
DeSena did not disclose his or Lallbachan’s salaries with Business Insider, but he mentioned that it was “well above” the average figure for a crime scene cleaner in the U.S., which was estimated to be $42,000 a year. DeSena also mentioned that hotel stays and meals are paid for by the company since they have to travel so often.
But the money is not why either of them got involved in the profession. For them, it’s being able to really help people who need it.
While DeSena and Lallbachan are a joy to watch interacting — commenters seem to love that Lallbachan shouts “hey ladies!” whenever he’s introduced on camera — the content itself is very heavy. The account issues graphic warnings on every single video and DeSena, who is mostly filming, provides a disclaimer that he is very aware of what he’s filming and won’t post anything that’s too over-the-top for the average viewer.
But the two are very sensitive when it comes to some of the dark and sad situations that lead them to be called. In their most recent upload, which was a suicide cleanup somewhere in Florida, DeSena explained every step of the cleanup process without revealing any private information about the specific person.
“You guys do amazing work,” a woman commented. “Saving someone’s family member from having to do that.”
“You guys do such an awesome job!” another commenter added. “I love how y’all are very sensitive about the situations and give a very realistic view of what happens.”
“we do our best to help,” DeSena and Lallbachan replied.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. You can also connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor at no charge by texting the word “HOME” to 741741. Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to learn more about the warning signs of suicidal ideation and check out the Jed Foundation’s online Mental Health Resource Center.
In The Know by Yahoo is now available on Apple News — follow us here!
The post Crime scene cleaners document their unusual, but necessary, job on TikTok appeared first on In The Know.
More from In The Know:
Harvard grad talks about what it was like as a low-income student: 'I got secondhand rage'
TikToker applies to 557 jobs, doesn't hear back from about 75% of them: 'I'd love to tell you I'm kidding'
TikToker calls out clothing brand Magnolia Pearl for their 'poverty core' aesthetic and high-end prices