BAGLEY, Iowa – An Iowa family was forced from their home earlier this month after their basement became flooded with nearly five inches of animal blood, fat and bones from a meat locker next door, according to local news reports.
"I was shocked at first, but I had a pretty good idea where it came from," homeowner and father of five Nick Lestina told WHO-TV.
"Some things you just think you'll never see," Nick Lestina said after the basement of his family’s home filled with 5 inches of animal blood, fat and tissue from a neighboring meat locker. https://t.co/pZFOnGVfWt— Des Moines Register (@DMRegister) October 16, 2019
Lestina and his family have lived next door to a meat locker for 10 years without any major issues until their basement filled with animal blood, he told reporters. The family was getting ready to sell the home when the incident occurred.
Lestina immediately called the Iowa Department of Natural Resources after discovering the red liquid spewing from his sump pump.
"It smelled like a meat processing facility when I entered the house," DNR senior environment specialist Keith Wilken told the Des Moines Register.
Wilken said the owner of the meat locker, Kaitlin Dahl, showed him the kill room where she had flushed blood down floor drains after killing hogs and cattle on Oct. 3. Wilken dropped florescent dye into the drain, and 10 minutes later it appeared in the Lestinas' basement.
The floor drain in the meat locker is connected to the same tile line as a floor drain in the Lestinas' basement, and the backup was most likely caused by a clog in the line, according to the Register.
The family of seven has reportedly been living elsewhere while the house is cleaned. Many of the family's belongings in the basement were destroyed, including a bed they were saving for their 1-year-old son, Lestina told reporters.
Dahl has apologized for the incident and said she and her husband plan to help the finance the cleanup.
The Dahls bought the meat locker in April after it had operated for over a decade under a previous owner, according to reports. Dahl said she and her husband had been following the procedures of the previous owner.
"This should be a wake-up call for the county sanitarians, the DNR and everybody that we need to do a little more thorough investigation--make sure that we as business owners don't get caught in the crossfire of all this when we thought we were okay to operate," Dahl said.