Iowa Family Discovers Blood Seeping Into Their Basement from Neighboring Slaughterhouse

Joelle Goldstein
Iowa Family Discovers Blood Seeping Into Their Basement from Neighboring Slaughterhouse

There may be two more weeks until Halloween, but what one Iowa man discovered in his basement recently was something straight out of a horror movie.

Nick Lestina was preparing to sell his Bagley home after living there for 10 years when he found five inches of blood covering his basement floor, WHO-TV reports.

Though surprised, Lestina said he instantly knew where the disturbing contents — later determined to be animal blood, fat and tissue — had seeped in from: the neighboring Dahl’s Meat Locker.

“Nobody wants to see that, smell that. I wouldn’t want that for anybody to have in their house,” he told the outlet. “I was shocked at first but I had a pretty good idea of where it came from.”

The Iowa father of five has lived next to Dahl’s Meat Locker for a decade, but never had any issues with the company — that is until Oct. 3 when he found the terrifying surprise in his unfinished basement.

The hog and cattle remains had reportedly made their way to his basement after being down dumped down Dahl’s floor drain and traveling through Lestina’s pipes, which were connected to the neighboring company’s, according to WHO-TV.

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Lestina instantly reported the incident to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Health, who all suggested that he get his family out of the home immediately as they investigate the incident, which they believe was likely caused by a clog in the connecting tile line.

“They told us that we shouldn’t stay in the house because of the biohazard,” Lestina explained to WHO-HD, with USA Today reporting that the family is currently staying with relatives in Panora until the mess is cleaned up.

In the meantime, Lestina said he has attempted to have a company come and get rid of the blood — and unbearable smell — but it’s been rather difficult.

“I’ve had a company come out for cleaning and sanitizing, but they can’t start that process until it stops coming up the drain,” Lestina told USA Today. “I’ve been talking to different excavation people. It hasn’t been a promising deal. I need dry weather.”

Lestina also initially claimed that his neighbors had not been helpful or offered any assistance.

“They haven’t reached out at all. They haven’t taken any accountability for it, they say it’s not their fault … if I want to do anything with it, it’s on my dime and my schedule,” he told WHO-HD. “I definitely don’t have thousands of dollars sitting around to throw at this.”

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However, the company’s co-owner Kaitlin Dahl claimed otherwise while speaking to the outlet.

“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,” she told the outlet. “We are arguing with our insurance company to try to get them to cover it, otherwise we will financially assist the Lestinas.”

“This should be a wake-up call for the county sanitarians, the DNR and everybody that we need to do a more thorough investigation so we as business owners don’t get caught in the crossfires of all this when we thought we were okay to operate and continue on the way it’s been done for years,” she added.

Lestina later acknowledged her sentiments, telling USA Today, “I don’t know if there’s been a change of heart, [but] now, they are reaching out and wanting to help.”

As the state continues to investigate and ensure that this never happens again, Lestina is looking forward to cleaning up and moving on.

“I really wouldn’t wish this on anybody,” he told WHO-TV. “But all I can do is keep moving forward and try to take care of the problem.”