What we know about the Naples Zoo cleaning company that employed mauled man

·2 min read

As darkness fell and the public left the zoo Wednesday, an HMI Commercial Cleaning crew arrived to scrub down the restrooms and gift shop at Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens.

Within two hours, a contract employee allegedly scaled a 4.5-foot fence surrounding the zoo's sole tiger enclosure and attempted to reach through and pet or feed 8-year-old Eko, Collier County Sheriff's and zoo officials report.

The critically endangered Malayan tiger bit down on the man's arm and wouldn't let go. A deputy had to shoot the tiger to get him to release the man, according to sheriff's reports.

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The man, identified as River Rosenquist, 26, of Naples, remained at Lee Memorial Hospital in serious condition Thursday.

Courtney Jolly, the zoo's marketing and public relations director, confirmed the man worked for HMI.

According to state records, HMI Commercial Cleaning incorporated in January.

Those records list Stacy Heidel as president and Steve Heidel as vice president of the company, with an address on Bonita Lane in Naples.

Naples Daily News attempts to reach them for comment about the accident or their injured employee were not successful.

Asked how long the zoo has used HMI and whether the company's executives or employees had to sign any liability waivers or agreements to steer clear of the animals, Jolly said she couldn't answer those questions at this time.

She also had no comment on whether the zoo would continue using the cleaning service.

"We have never had an issue like this in the past," Jolly said.

Related: Tiger attack at Naples Zoo: Rescue video, Carole Baskin posts 'Tiger King' TikTok, other details

While HMI was established less than a year ago, Steve Heidel isn't new to the cleaning business.

He owned and operated Heidel Management, a janitorial service in Southwest Florida, for decades. State records show that company incorporated in 1997 and dissolved in 2012, after failing to file an annual report.

According to HMI's website, Heidel, a graduate of Michigan State University, has more than 25 years of cleaning experience, serving the Southwest Florida market since 1989.

Here's a synopsis from the company site: Heidel began his career at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples. While serving as housekeeping manager at the hotel, he also worked for a local country club, where he "noticed the need for improved cleanliness." The need drove him to start his own janitorial business, which grew to serve not just country clubs, but commercial buildings, offices, restaurants, shopping centers, banks and other commercial interests, such as the zoo.

Heidel earned a business degree in hotel, restaurant and institutional management from Michigan State University.

This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: Tiger attack at Naples Zoo: What we know about the cleaning company that employed mauled man

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