After 10 years serving in the military, Christopher Loston joined the family business.
It’s not an unusual career step. However, for most, the family business involves less blood and guts.
On his first day, Loston spent hours chopping up a bloody mattress. We’ll spare readers the details Loston didn’t spare a Central Valley Business Journal reporter. Like he says, “sometimes less details are better.”
Loston owns Bio Safety Clean, a home restoration and cleanup company that once focused on crime scenes. He still offers the service in Sacramento, Solano and San Joaquin counties, but he’s added water damage repair and mold removal, as well.
From a scientific standpoint, Loston said the added services makes sense because blood is liquid-based and acts the same as water to clean.
“It’s funny how it all kind of seems to play together,” Loston said.
Growing up, Loston’s father owned the same company.
Loston always knew his father was a janitor. He just had no idea what kind.
The company grew from run-of-the-mill janitorial services to a crime scene cleanup business when his father was asked to clean blood from floorboards after a murder. After that, he decided to get licensing and offer his services to a more niche audience.
A few years ago, the senior Loston retired from the business and took a new job as the owner of a funeral home.
“The whole death and dying thing has kind of been around, so I’m okay with it,” Loston said.
Since 2012, Loston has seen a lot. His work takes a similar mental and emotional toll that law enforcement officers experience, but he says it’s not as bad.
After all, when he gets there, the bodies have been removed.
That’s not to say things don’t get left behind.
“I’ve found brains before,” Loston said.
Once, Loston found both halves of a brain.
Loston said it’s strange when remnants of a victim are found, because the next of kin has to be notified in case they want the piece buried with the rest of the body. If they do, he makes arrangements with law enforcement to turn it over.
He’s inventoried some other interesting items, too.
Several times, Loston has uncovered bullet casings and slugs that have slipped behind washing machines during a crime.
When that happens, Loston gets a glimpse into the career he almost had—he was accepted to the police academy at the same time his business picked up and decided to turn it down—photographing evidence and connecting with officers to share information.
He once pulled 25 gallons of syringes out of a crime scene.
He frequently cleans up hoarder houses, which often involve a lot of decayed animals and feces, not to mention up to six-foot piles of trash.
“When I talk to people they usually say ‘Oh my God, I don’t know how you do this,’” Loston said. “It does take a toll.”
When Loston gets a call for someone who dies of natural causes he said it’s a relief. He doesn’t mind those. His least favorite? “I don’t like seeing kids hurt.”
After a hard shift, Loston either goes home to a couple of drinks or “runs until there’s nothing left.”
While most of his jobs come with a harrowing scene and some gory details, not all jobs are bad. Perhaps Loston’s best call came from a man who needed his bloodied bathroom cleaned up.
When Loston got to the scene, it was business as usual; blood was everywhere. There were smears and handprints in the bathtub, on the countertops, in the sink. He asked what happened.
It turns out the man’s wife had given birth there. Unable to make it to the hospital, she labored in the bathtub.
“I was actually really happy about that because it wasn’t a death, it was about a life,” Loston said.
He ran into the couple recently, he said. Their baby girl, almost 3, is doing great.
Today, the crime scenes that once accounted for 100 percent of Loston’s business make up 10 percent of clientele. He also contracts jobs with local law enforcement agencies to clean up bloodied equipment after fights.
When Loston isn’t working he’s on the baseball field or spending time with his family, his wife—who went to school for embalming, though she does accounting for the State Department of Corrections—and his three kids, ages 7, 6 and 2.
Four days each week his two older sons play in a local league.
There’s one other family tradition he’s holding onto.
As far as his kids know: daddy fixes houses.